The Other Kind of Teenager: Thoughts on Raising Great Kids

This evening on the way home from my daughter Hannah's ballet class, we stopped for a few groceries. The couple behind us in line were discussing a teenage girl. "If she was mine, I'd take her phone away and make sure she was so busy she had no time for boys."

Their tone implied they had little respect for teenagers.

We put our groceries on the conveyor belt, and Hannah moved our things forward and put a divider up so the people behind us could add their groceries. The expressions on their faces was priceless. "Wow!" They exclaimed. "That was nice!"

The lady asked me how old Hannah is.

"She's eight."

The lady's reply was predictable and disappointing. "Enjoy her now while she's still sweet."

There was a beat and then Hannah politely stated, "Actually, we think I'm going to be nice all along. I'm going to be the other kind of teenager."

Their faces again looked stunned. They then told her they thought that was wonderful.

Please don't underestimate the power you have, whether you're a parent or not, of setting kids up to be great teenagers and adults, or setting them up to believe their roles as teens is to be impossible, rude, and irresponsible.

As a society, it's time to change the message we're sending to our youth. Today's kids are tomorrow's law-makers, teachers, physicians, social workers, scientists, nurses, parents, and much much more.

Let's start with the kids in our own homes and communities. Let's begin instilling this message: "I see so much potential in you. I know you are going to go far and do great things. I'm excited to see all of the compassion and kindness you will give the world. You have purpose."


True North

Ribbons of the new and unexpected wind in and around normal rhythms. Life isn't static, and as such, you would think I would learn to expect the unexpected. Somehow change still catches me off guard.

I find myself without a map right now. In a place I haven't been before. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar place.

Disoriented, I sit on the edge of my bed at night and journal, determined to use my compass to find true north. My husband walks in and snaps a picture as he says, "Look at you live artfully." {It's a bit of a joke around here.}

I'm a chatterbox, but very much an introvert. A few years ago I dubbed myself an "Expressive Introvert." I have a deep inner thought life. I process everything. Then I have to express it, somehow, in order to fully process my experience.

Change is hard for introverts. I am a creature who cherishes and tries to protect stability. Even when my life looks the same from the outside, if there are elements of change within, I feel it like waves rippling beneath a sailboat.

So it's vital for me to have a true north I can find when I feel blown about on rippling tides or rough seas.

I'm thinking a lot these days about my true north. What that is. What points me right-side-up, feeds me, returns me to what I know to be true about myself and life. Maybe this resonates with you. Maybe, like me, you just needed the words for this feeling so that you could begin identifying all of the things, people, places, beliefs that make up your compass.

Find your true north.


DaySpring Oilcloth Tote: Product Review

The bag rode in the back seat to Grammy's house, toting Veggie Tales DVDs, changes of clothes for the girls, water color paints and sketch books, a storybook, and things I needed for a day away from home. It held an armload -- the perfect amount of comfort and activities for several hours at my parents' house.

The bag rode at my feet as I sat in the passenger seat, the "Flight Attendant." It held my wallet, phone, lipstick, eyeglasses, contact case & solution, books for my girls in the backseat. It held an extra pair of shoes in case my feet flared, PJs for the girls in case it was close to bedtime when we were done shopping in the city.

The bag came on our bookstore/coffee shop date, packed with two journals, a book, art supplies, my phone, my wallet, and a comfortable outfit and other things in case I got cold or super uncomfortable.


The Hope for the Best oilcloth tote by DaySpring is beautiful. The message applies to my life in more than one way right now, and I find it encouraging. Hope has been my theme throughout difficult times in my life, and is even a nickname given to me by one of my friends. I couldn't wait to receive the Hope bag in the mail to review, and was more than pleased when I took it out of the box.

It's soft, yet sturdy, roomy with a strong magnet closure, the straps are long enough to carry comfortably on my shoulder and feel like soft leather. The colors are beautiful and the lining is pink and fun. There are several pockets inside, including cell phone pockets and a zipper pocket big enough for lipstick, change, medications, or whatever you might need to carry with you. 

I received an additional bag to give to a friend. I gifted it to a friend who recently had a birthday. She uses totes all the time for grocery shopping and toting books from place to place, so I was sure she would put it to good use.

The bag would be perfect for a trip to the beach -- throw in towels, sunscreen, snacks & drinks, a good book, and sunglasses. When you get home, it will be easy to wipe clean.

Our family is going on vacation in September and this bag will definitely be coming along! As a mom, I find it the perfect size.

I can think of a dozen uses for this bag, and have carried nothing else since receiving it. I am truly delighted with it and would order more as gifts or for myself. 

Check out the other oilcloth and jute totes by DaySpring here: http://www.dayspring.com/search/?keywords=oil%20cloth

DaySpring is offering a Buy 2, get the 3rd free deal on their beautiful bags through the month of June. Pick up one for you and gifts for friends!

*I received this complimentary bag from DaySpring in exchange for my honest review. 
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