It was 25 years ago that I started into this phase of life. You may ask, “What phase are you talking about?” It is that phase that all parents seem to dread but have to go through it as their children grow and develop. It is a phase of spreading a child’s wings and developing their own mind and perspective of life. It is a phase of challenging authority as they gain independence. It is a time when they get a piece of laminated paper and begin moving four wheels with hundreds of horses pulling the wheels without their parents. It is a phase when they choose to leave the nest and begin planting roots of their own in their own apartment or house or condo. You guessed it. The teenage years.
For me it has been a 25 year process of taking each of my children below, beginning with Deborah and continuing with Victoria. The last to go this phase was my youngest child, Carter. On January 5, 2017, he officially moved out of this phase and I have become an empty nester to a teenager.
As I look back on this quarter of a century experience, I would never trade that time for any amount of money. Were their times of difficulty and challenges? Absolutely. Were their times when I questioned my ability to deal with the teenage years? Most certainly. Did I find myself wishing that certain actions of my children could be different? No question. But as I look back on the time frame, I am so blessed by the three in the picture and am honored to be their father.
In the midst of the lows and highs of parenting teenagers, I have come to appreciate those lows and highs because it was in those times that I grew the most as a father and friend. The three of them have given me such joy over the years. I am truly blessed. I am a father to them, but more importantly, I see them as close friends and look forward to seeing how the Lord will use them in the future. I look forward to the legacy they will leave here on this earth.
I in some respects will miss the teenage years as the dependence upon me is gone. But a new phase is before me and I want to grab on to it as we progress together with new challenges ahead.
On this journey, we are constantly seeing the old drop off in our life with new opportunities that present themselves to us in the present. Living in the present and looking forward to the future keeps us moving and growing.