Knowing that so many parents are governing uncharted territory with their teens, my hope is that this personal share serves as a means of support and encouragement for the parent / child journey during this stage of development. I wrote to my oldest nephew for his fourteenth birthday.
I am showing up whole-heartedly with this letter to share my message of love and truth for you.
I want to let you know that no matter what age we are, we are always growing into who we were born to be. What I thought I knew twenty years ago was only a spec on the wall compared to what I know more of today. And as you start to flourish more into your being, I recognize that growing through the teenage years in today’s world is no easy task, and the pressures / external influences make it that much more trying. There is a lot of internal conflict of emotions, self-growth and discovery, independence, exploration, so much so that you don’t always know where to start or how to make sense of all these foreign thoughts and emotions. This is completely normal. There is a need for space, privacy, and solitude, a need to be heard, seen and validated in different ways than you may have been given in the past. Teenage life is just the beginning of so many more chapters in your life you will encounter – where you will reflect back on this point in your life to see how you’ve navigated through it – giving you the where within and inner peace that you can overcome any / all circumstances that life brings your way – including relationships, college, career, friendships, societal pressures, marriage and children of your own one day.
My prayer for you on your birthday and all the days, years to follow is this – I want you to know you are fully accepted for who you are, who you are becoming, and who God created in you. As you grow into your manhood day after day, year after year, I want to acknowledge and affirm the young man I see before my eyes is one of love and infinite possibility to make a beautiful mark onto this world and that God is calling him to be and serve. When you find yourself getting down, upset, frustrated, disconnected from others, feel those emotions and let them pass through you – don’t harbor or hang onto them – for they will not serve your soul or destiny.
Embrace the love that surrounds you daily with your family and God and seek the answers to the questions from Him that will help you stay in gratitude and self-acceptance and self-forgiveness (which you will come to know more throughout life). Spread your wings knowing through the challenges of life that you will grow stronger wings that will support your journey. Be honest and vulnerable to what you are experiencing (thoughts, emotions) and ask for guidance and help. Remember that your parents are evolving on this journey with you and that in order to have a united front, cooperation and support is a key element to shifting the energy and dynamics of your relationship(s) with your parents for the better. They will not always know how to meet you right where you are – show them by reaching for their hand. They will not always know the right words to say to you; teach them what you need that to sound like. They will not always handle their emotions in a way that fits your own; be vulnerable and let them know what you need.
What I have learned is that parenthood is a life-transformational and ever-evolving journey where parent and child learn to find their flow, rhythm and life song together. There are ever-growing stages along the way for each – sometimes bring more challenges to grow both parent / child up. From toddler-hood to being a teenager, we are given many opportunities to grow together as a family – sometimes we get it right, others times not so much. Some days come effortlessly, others we have to work much harder at. Some moments we are connected and other moments we are disconnected. These are all experiences and opportunities that life presents so we can emerge and elevate our beings to a higher standard.
Fourteen years ago today, you descended from the love of God into this world and into the arms of your incredibly, loving and amazing mom and dad’s arms – not only changing their lives for the better but all of ours. Your parents provide you and your brother with such a foundation of unconditional love, support, encouragement, trust and guidance as you go through your own life’s journey that so many kids would wish they had. Stay in full gratitude today, for God is walking alongside you and your family forever and always.
With all my love forever,