Home > Faith, Parents, Teens, Youth Workers > Infants and teens – Thoughts from the past.

Infants and teens – Thoughts from the past.

I posted a few years ago about the parallels between infants and teens. I think it still valid and with a different audience, I wanted to repost it for you! This one is from when Mattie was born (she’s almost two now).

I’m having my second kid sometime between now and noon on Tuesday. If it doesn’t happen before Tuesday, we have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am so she can be induced. I’m sitting here, thinking about life and love as my wife is eating some Mexican thing and having contractions because she heard once again that peppers and spice will get that thing into the real world. And I digress… it got me thinking about love. Strange I know, but when the wife is pregnant, I’m allowed to have random thoughts that seem significant but really probably aren’t. I remember thinking before Makenna was born that loving a newborn can be a lot like loving a teen. I don’t mean for this to oversimplify youth or make a categorical statement but could it be that they are actually very similar when it comes to love?

A newborn is one of the most fragile beings there is. I remember the first poop. Did I mention there were 11 in the first night! Anyway, I had to go get the nurse because I had no idea what I was doing. She came in and in my perception, was throwing my fragile little kid around! I was thinking to myself that I should tell her to be careful because if not, her head would fall right off and I don’t think those go back on easily! I was completely inexperienced with these beings and now, after watching Makenna grow up some (she’s about two) they aren’t really that fragile at all. They actually bounce! I look back and laugh at how overly cautious I was.

The most striking memory I have about that first night was looking at her and wondering how in the world I could show her love. Even if I did show her love, she wouldn’t reciprocate for long time. She would just poop, eat, spit up and cry… not the most recognizable forms of love.

Those few things transfer well in my mind to how adults relate to youth. Two of the big questions I have had in the past are “How do I love youth?” and “If I do love on them, will they even notice?” Adults often require a timetable for results or things don’t seem successful. This is really challenging to me. I think I’m figuring out the how to love on kids part but I didn’t know if they even felt it or appreciated it. Is any teen going to walk up to an adult other than a parent and say “Hey, thanks for loving me…even when I wasn’t the easiest person to love.” When Makenna gave me her first hug, I remember thinking that all of the diaper changes and late night bottles were more than worth it. Maybe most of the things youth do to show their love and affection to adults is missed. Could it be that they show us by listening, asking questions and really wanting to know what we think? Maybe it’s those times when they confide in us about things that don’t make them look so great, poor choices that they regret making. I’m sure that this is only the beginning of my journey into how to authentically love on youth.

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Categories: Faith, Parents, Teens, Youth Workers
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