Friday, November 19, 2010

Looking Back Means Looking Forward

For the past month, I have been struggling to figure out how to move forward with concepts of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination.  While my 12 year old believes he should have all the perks of a 20 year old, I think otherwise.

I also need to recognize that in order to gain insights into things we stand for, people who are important in our lives, and how to make meaning of the many competing interests, we may need to look backwards.

I can remember when I was a young adolescent girl and how horrified I was to be with my parents; how I thought I should have a full access pass to an adult world; and how I would make my way with this new found maturity.  I knew what was best, I knew what was cool, I knew who I should look like and all the other stuff.  The funny thing is that I was entirely clueless about all the internal stuff:  values, beliefs, relationships.  All I cared about was how I was perceived externally. 

Given that I can remember how I felt and thought at this time, you would think that I may have a slight advantage in understanding how my son is experiencing adolescence.  Well, I don't.  I try to put myself in his shoes of wanting to be out in the world and I am come completely undone by this small man-child being on the streets alone.  I try to dig back in the recesses of my memories of hanging with friends that my parents really did not know and I imagine my son being in harm's way in homes that I can't locate.  Lastly, I remember the amount of lies I told my parents in order to get what I wanted, go where I wanted, and be who I wanted and am beside myself at the danger I shrugged off with the "I'm too smart to let something bad happen to me" attitude.

This looking back is not providing me with insight, but with horror.  The "E-ticket" ride of the super roller-coaster of puberty is going to make me throw up at every turn and drop. 

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