Yesterday (Tuesday) was my birthday, and I spent it in the very enjoyable company of my daughter, Sarah.
Sarah is 15 years old. Yep, she’s in those…gasp...teenage years where they are all supposed to be sullen, shutting out their parents or siblings and spending all their time texting on their smartphones, full of teenage angst.
Well, I’m here to tell you that not all teenagers are like that.
I’m quite proud to say that Sarah enjoys my company and likes spending time with me as much as I like spending time with her. We’re weird like that. I guess it’s because we have so much in common – we always have had.
We share a love of…wait for it…Marvel Comics. I know. Big shock to those of you who follow this blog. In fact, I think Sarah loves them more than I do. She knows the backstories of the comics better than I do. She goes for the misunderstood anti-hero more than the hero, like Bucky Barnes (in The Winter Soldier) and Deadpool – I think because it’s the empathy and compassion in her coming out along with the badass side of her. A great combo if you ask me. Then again, Loki’s my favorite so I guess I’m somewhat of a bad influence.
We love going to the movies together and chowing down on popcorn and drinking pop – the whole movie experience. We go every chance we get. Big Hero Six, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, we love them all.
Sarah is smart (as a matter of fact she is extremely smart, she’s college material already — she’ll start dual enrollment next school year), but more than that, and much more importantly, she’s a good person.
Sarah is tolerant of all people. Well, she’s intolerant sometimes, a lot of times actually – she’s intolerant of those who would belittle someone for their looks, their race, their mental capacity, their gender orientation, or things of that nature. She has a very short temper in that regard. She despises stupidity and ignorance and human cruelty and conservative mindsets. Like me, she hates hunting and animal cruelty in all forms.
She hates the abuse of authority by our government and our police when it manifests itself, but having said that, she also respects the ideals behind our government and our police force – what these institutions are supposed to be.
On top of this, she has an amazing sarcastic and witty sense of humor. It usually comes out in her writing. Not sure where she gets that from.
I was thinking of all this today while I was spending time with my daughter.
I thought of all those parents out there – hopefully not as many as I think there are – that don’t want to spend any time with their kids, or worse, want to spend time with their kids but their kids don’t want to spend time with them. (Think Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” – what a sad song that is.)
Do the teenage years have to be so bad and stressful for teens and parents alike?
Can some of this stress be alleviated by finding things in common with your kids from a very young age and maintaining those traditions – playing chess or Scrabble after a sit-down dinner every night, sharing comic books, going to the movies every weekend… talking frankly about the world and its dangers…philosophy, books, and common interests?
Of course I know I’m lucky with Sarah… as a parent I certainly helped in her development but she also has evolved into a good kid on her own!
Have a talk with your kids today, why don’t you? Better yet…buy them a Deadpool or Captain America comic book!