My son, Nick, is 17 years old. Wow, how time flies! It makes me glad we chose to be open to life. Who knew that parenthood would be so fleeting? I'm so happy that we are making it last longer then most. When my last child leaves, I want to wipe my forehead and say, "Whew! That was a good ride." If I only had one or two kids, I imagine I would be confused and bewildered. What did we do with our time? And what are we going to do with all this time left?!!
I remember being a teenager. Stop laughing! It wasn't that long ago! Anyway, it was very common for all of my friends, and myself, to have curfew. Usually midnight. If you had a really strict parent, it was 11:00. How funny that all seems to me now. Lets be honest. What that really means, is if the movie got out at 11:00, you had an hour to "park". I mean, bringing your date home before curfew meant you really didn't want to spend every available minute with her, therefore, didn't really care about her. Being so old...I mean...wise and experienced, I pondered how I would deal with this when I had my own teenager. It wasn't until I studied Theology of the Body (thank GOD I did this before Nick got his license!) that I realized my answer! Its FREEDOM. Thats what teenagers truly desire. They all want their freedom. If I restrict that, then the rebelling will begin! Sounds like I'm giving up doesn't it? Well, no. We needed to teach Nick what freedom means. When he truly understood, no restrictions would ever be necessary. For example, do I need the commandment to not kill my husband? Am I walking around completely ticked off that God has restricted me from taking his life every time he walks in the door? Why is that? Maybe its because I have true freedom to love the way God intended me to love. If we desire to do Gods will and desire to live with Him in His eternal exchange of love, I will not need these rules and commandments. They will already be in my heart. This is what Roy and I needed to teach Nick and our other kids kicking at his heels to grow up.
Under my darling husbands instruction, Nick took a 6 month course in Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body for Teens. What a gift! This class covered everything...chastity, love, the purpose of our bodies, vocations, marriage, how Christ was the groom and His Church, the bride. It taught him how a groom loves his bride the way Christ loves His bride. It went in detail exactly how Christ loves His bride. 12 classes, 3 hours each. Roy made it fun, filling it with his closest friends, having pizza parties, lively discussions, a retreat, New Years Eve party, and finishing off nearly every meeting with a youth group function across the hall. Nick enjoyed it so much that he came back the following year to do the class again. One day when I was complaining for the hundredth time that he hates to read, he replied, "I don't like reading anything unless its Theology of the Body". I kept my mouth shut after that. I'm sure I will be opening it back up soon. He really does have to read other things!
This is one of our beloved students, Kerrianne, using her imagination with playdough on how she see's her relationship with God at the TOB retreat.
I told Nick that our city has a curfew for teenagers. He asks, "Whats a curfew?" I smiled. My teenager doesn't even know what a curfew is. He has no desire to come home late. He has no desire to use another person for his own gratification. He has no desire to turn others away from God. He does not need a curfew. I am so proud of Him. I thank JPII from the bottom of my heart. God has revealed to Him a truth at a time when it was needed the most in our post-sexual revolution world.
Please watch future blogs and Facebook status' of upcoming TOB classes for teens and adults.