I understand why this letter has gone viral and been so popular, but when I saw it on Facebook this morning (before I read the above article) These were my thoughts.
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This letter is a good start (in the sense that we all need to be reminded to do what we can, and quit expecting others to do it for us) but these words don’t provide what I needed as a teen, and that was personalized direction.
I was a KID. I was even one who didn’t claim to know everything. And I didn’t know on my own which way to go other than to “be good.” And that is WAY to vague for most kids.
I was a good kid by most standards, and this letter being given to me would have made me feel simultaneously furious and helpless.
He’s just told me to get out of his way and quit being vocal about the fact that I have needs I don’t know how to meet.
All my life I had a drive to “make a difference” and “be involved,” but I did not have the skill/know-how/authority to make much of anything happen on my own.
Weekly visits to the nursing home (at 13) were with an adult, who eased me into being unafraid. Joining worship team (at 17 or 18) and before that forming a youth version (when I was 15) required an adult sponsor to give us access to the stage and sound equipment.
Even now, in my 30s, I know the fastest, most efficient way to know how best to apply my talents comes from outside help.
Why do you think “life coaching” even exists as a profession? We want solid, reliable input. Wise people don’t want to be limited to their own experience.
It always feels good to tell off people who are making your life more complicated, and the writer was described as “a judge who regularly deals with youth.”
I guess most of the readers/repeaters are parents, and AMEN! because they feel similarly pressed.
These parents have been dealing with and giving, like the judge says, and yes it’s perfect for the youth to “accept some of the responsibility your parents have carried for years.”
But I for one was never the kid who could look at a mess, see what needs to be done, and “just do it.”
I am BARELY that kind of adult.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from becoming a grown-up, it’s that the growing. never. ends.
And parenting (best as I can tell) is a lot of inconvenience.
We’re allowed to gripe, and call it hard, like it is, but eventually we have to swallow the frog; reenter the inconvenience of life-as-parent ’cause, really, nothing gets done until we do.
We have to change that diaper, find a bandaid, teach a concept and (Lord-Willing) cultivate a sense of self that will allow that child to develop a personal vision and motivation that will equip him or her to finally accept everything in his letter as a reasonable expectation.