One of the perks of being old is that you are the master of your own bedtime. But in a cruel twist of irony, you find yourself not staying up later, but longing to go to bed earlier. When does this happen? For me, roughly seven years into four kids. Now I know why old people go to bed so early – they’re tired. Conversely, my kids are rarely tired at bedtime – particularly when there’s a game on – any game – of any sport. On one such night, we put them to bed at their appointed bedtime. And surprisingly, no backlash. (That should have tipped us off that something was awry.) They went to their rooms, closed the doors, and...quiet. We were able to watch the game with little interruption. I hardly heard a peep out of them for two hours.
So, I have a 16 year-old. He likes cars, girls, football, and sleeping late. The first three require hard work, a little head scratching and lots of attention. And still, a bit of mystery remains. Some of that he’ll learn to appreciate later in life. To that end, we have our share of life-lesson conversations. These are often awkward and circular conversations where I (try to) impart wisdom from past successes and failures. They’re not always well spoken, nor are they always well received, but I’m prayerful they’ll benefit him as he moves through adolescence into adulthood. As his mother and I have learned, nothing with a teenager is better left unsaid. If you believe for a second it’s worth hearing? Say it. Then say it again. And when you think you’ve said it enough, say it one more time. You were a teenager once.
My readers have spoken! Both have asked whether I would post again. I must apologize, but my absence was not without merit. During these last few weeks I’ve accomplished quite a bit:
- I made a few changes to my will. (Remember: You can only change it while you’re alive.)
- We took a family vacation to the beach and returned with the same amount of dependents as we left with. (They’re more than dependents, of course. They’re also cheap labor sources.)
- I pressure-washed my deck and replaced a few ailing boards. Funny how a few steps forward can change your impression of the larger task at hand. Those new boards gave me the “umph” I needed to get the rest of the deck in order. And that, now, has led to a wonderful environment for the entire family. And it all started with that first board.
- Oh, and I also taught a class on financial stewardship to a group of 15 to 17 year olds.
Okay. Call me a cynic, but I’ve never been one to put my faith in prognostications made by people who read cards, roll chicken bones, or who answer to the name Dionne Warwick. So how I stumbled upon my horoscope today is beyond me. Just curious, I guess. And for all us Tauruses, our horoscope declares,
“…it’s important for you to think deeply about your current financial situation. Go through paperwork, and make sure you know what’s happening…If you aren’t certain what to do for the best, pick the brains of a financial whizz, such as a bank manager or a clued-up friend.”
Let’s see what we really have here for the ol’ bull…
My set up:
So my 7 year-old runs up to his mother and says, “Mommy, I know what I want for my birthday.” “And what would that be, Callahan?” she asked. Confident in his reply, he stated, “I want one of those cards with a horse on it that you give to people and then they give you stuff…and then they give you the card back.” Hmm…turns out he was referring to our credit card. And from his perspective and life experience, this is the coolest thing ever! We give someone a card, we get whatever we want, and then we get the card back to use again...and again. What a deal. He doesn’t know, bless his sweet heart, of the possible dangers lurking in this type of transaction. Problem is, some folks much his senior don’t know them either. Not until it’s too late.