5.12.2006

Growing Up Is Hard to Do

Six years ago, a (former) roommate who works for a mentoring ministry asked if I would be interested in going through the training program to become a mentor for an at risk teenager. My response: "I know your program is focused on teens . . . but unfortunately, I don't do teens. I didn't understand them when I was one and they certainly didn't understand me! If by some chance you found a child for me to mentor, I would talk about that with you."

Six months later she stood in the doorway of my room, "Well, I met your child today. She is your twin - totally how I picture you when you were a child - looks, personality - everything!" And it was true, this child and I were meant for each other. Even the way we got connected was phenomenal. When I was a counseling student, I randomly ran into the seminary's on-site cousneling center to say hi to somebody. I bumped into a woman who asked if I knew of any mentoring programs in town. She had a young clinet that needed a friend more than she needed thearpy. I directed her to Becky. And a few months later, Becky stood in my doorway - "I found your child!"

From her creativity, to her sensitivity, to her family dynamics, and her questionable sense of style/structure/and time management - we are so similar! Over the years, we have grown together, traveled together, and eaten our weight in ice cream together (I got two scoops for every one she had). It has been a serendipitous experience.

In the last year or two, we have seen less and less of each other. I have been busy and she doesn't call. We get together once every two or three months and go to a movie or something. I try talking to her. Sometimes she talks back. She handed out programs at our wedding. That's about it.

I got an email from her mother this week. My sweet little girl friend is now 14 years old and *gasp* kissing boys. She isn't supposed to be kissing boys. No, really, she isn't. It is against the rules at her house. But her little sister told on her. Oops. So, now, her mom wants me to start meeting with her again on a regular basis. It is a good idea. Teenagers need adults beside their parents to support them. But remember, I don't do teenagers.

Now, since the time that I originally declined working with a teen mentee, I have worked professionally with many teenagers. But most of them were boys - and we all know that drug and porn addicted teenage boys are much more reasonable and kind than any 14 year old girl.

But despite my fear of teenage girls, Herb and God have been talking to me about it and they both feel it is a good idea - for my friend and for me. So, next week, I will eat ice cream with the cute nine year old girl who has grown up into an adolescent who signs her emails "Vampire Freak". I guess I will wear a necklace of garlic bulbs around my neck.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Lolita said...

do not fear!! teens are just little kids with hormones. someone once told me that every teen has a sign over head that says "notice me".

if you listen to their stories, they may even give you *permission* to share yours, and your sage advice.

you will be great! :)

9:58 AM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Jennifer Coomer said...

Nothing witty to say this time around. Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog and very glad I've made your blog acquaintance.

11:00 AM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

Ooh, ooh! Me too! Me too!
I like you!
You have a place to crash in Denver should you ever make your way out to Colorado. After stalking you on your blog, I feel safe extending that offer. you seem very normal and lovely.

11:18 AM, May 12, 2006  
Blogger Cara said...

Ooh, ooh! Me too! Me too!
I like you!
You have a place to crash in Denver should you ever make your way out to Colorado. After stalking you on your blog, I feel safe extending that offer. you seem very normal and lovely.

11:18 AM, May 12, 2006  

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