Five AM is not the absolute best time to call me. But I did receive a call this morning at five AM and was delighted! My new chicks had arrived at the post office in their little packing box. So easy. I go online, pick out the chicks I want, place my order and wait for the shipping call. Once I get them home, I dip their little beaks in the water for a drink and then they are off. So Easy.
So much easier, in fact, than kids! Can you imagine if we could just go online, pick out the children we want and then place the order? I am sure that the docile, mile-mannered ones would all be snapped right up. Kids with athletic builds might go rather quickly and the obedient breeds would never be in stock. There might be a HUGE back log of smart-alec, smart-mouthed, irritating, ungrateful, whiney kids. They would probably be half price with free shipping!
The same thing happens with chicks. The good, egg-laying, docile ones are often out of stock while the aggressive ones are often the only ones left to offer. I am not entirely sure but they might even end up in the freezer. Good thing that does not happen to kids. However, I met a lady one time on an airplane who told me that all teenagers should be deep frozen until they are twenty-five and then thawed. I nodded along as she told me this.
She might have been right in some ways, but for the most part I don’t think I agree with her. Teens can be vexing but think of all the things we learn. We learn ultimate patience. We learn new songs and dance moves. We get matching tattoos. We wear strange clothes to look “cool.” We learn to love when we are about ready to chop their little heads off. We learn to think outside of our adult box. We learn that absolutely anything can happen and we will all get over it.
Teenagers just might be God’s perfect training tool for us. But mostly, with teens, we learn about ourselves. We learn how strong we must be. We learn that we better be living what we talk or they will crucify us. We learn how to handle heartache, mistrust, and disappointment. We learn how to love another in spite of.
Small, soft babies are so easy to love and then they grow. Not unlike chicks, teens clomp together while making non-stop, undecipherable noises. They make huge messes and walk right over them. They are awkward and sometimes fall over themselves. The “roosters” are very full of themselves. They peck at everything, especially their mothers. They eat more than they weigh about every three hours or so. And they are so stinkin cute we put up with them and encourage them to grow up and produce.
At some point in encouraging and putting up with teens, most parents reflect back. “I surely did not talk to my parents the way these kids talk to me!” Were we as obstinate and pig-headed as these young teens? Surely not! And at some point it hits – our poor parents! How did they make it through? The same way we are going to make it through I suspect. One day at a time with gritted teeth.
As I pamper my new little Rhode Island Reds, I also pamper my pre-teen, young teen, and older teen. I set out water and food and listen to them cheep. I encourage them to come out of their box and to quit pecking on each other. I guard them and watch over them until they are ready to leave the coop and then I quietly thank the good Lord that I made through yet another teen experience!
While my downy chicks are brand new, I have a chick ready to leave the coop. I am both excited and fearful. She is both excited and fearful. Graduation from High School and leaving the coop are major milestones for older teenagers. There are foxes out in the world ready to snap them up. There are dangers around every corner but she is ready and I think I am ready.
As graduation approaches for many, we pray that our chicks have learned the lessons that they need to avoid the foxes and the pitfalls that await them. We pray that they remember how much we loved them along the way and we pray that they find their own path to success and a productive life.
And we pray for all the parents who can’t help but bawl at the opening notes of Pomp and Circumstance even if it is number six.