Raising teenagers is hard! Sometimes (and they might say most of the time), I expect too much out of my teenagers. I expect them to always make wise choices and way-too-adult decisions. I expect them to be grown up about responsibilities and I forget that they are learning, that they are growing, that they are maturing. I want them to be always perfect, and they simply are not!
Lately, Candace and I have been butting heads, not seeing eye-t0-eye on the way she is handling her new venture: homeschooling. I expect her to be like I was when I was a kid, when the truth is, she is much more like her father, fun-loving, good natured, and less serious about her studies. I am intense. She is not! Last night, after we had a day where I scolded and yelled too much, and she ignored me way more than she should, her father took away her Ipod, indefinitely. All heck broke out in the house for too much of the evening. Then something happened that changed the whole mood in the house, and I took this as a serious lesson and learning experience for Mom. Candace (and Cara too - who also got her Ipod taken away) came downstairs dressed in all black and appearing very Gothic. She was really just being light-hearted about what had happened and didn't even know that she was opening my eyes. My not-so-perfect daughter really is a sweet, loving, young lady who listens to sermons on-line every night before she goes to bed. She spreads joy and cheer in every environment she enters. Candace has never been rebellious and caused her parents shame. Yes, she forgets to do her history and even puts off taking her French quizzes, but she's not sneaking around at night with boys, or dressing evil or promiscuous. She loves her Savior and craves the things of God. Just last night, I received an email from a friend who invited us to the baptism on Sunday of a teenager on Candace's soccer team that accepted Christ because Candace invited her to a youth activity. God works through teenagers that love Him. The comparison photos above made it real clear to me that God has given me a sweet daughter whom I love with all my heart. I need to tell her that more often...I need to praise her more...I need to accept her for her inadequacies because in the big scheme of things, Candace really does have a sweet heart.