I could write a screen play based on the drama unfolding in my life. I imagine my life isn’t so different from yours, if you are raising teenagers and/or coping with aging parents.
When you think about it, our teenage children have a lot in common with their grandparents. Teenagers make bad choices because their brains aren’t fully developed. An elderly person makes bad decisions because their brains are deteriorating with disease—senility, or perhaps dementia or Alzheimer’s. Our teenagers act irrational because their hormones are raging out of control while our aging parents throw temper tantrums out of frustration over their failing bodies. Teenagers forget important details out of convenience, the elderly forget because their memory isn’t what it once was. Both are stubborn, refusing to ask for help when they desperately need it, and rebellious, insisting we—the middle age parent and child—are stupid and uninformed.
They have their differences as well. One is applying to college, the other to a retirement home. One is an inexperience driver, the other a dangerous driver. One misuses social media, the other doesn’t understand social media. One never calls, the other calls all the time—especially at dinner. One stays out past curfew, the other goes to bed before dark.
Our teenagers and our aging parents are impatient and self-centered. They demand our attention, but only when it is convenient for them—when they aren’t preoccupied with their friends or watching jeopardy. The stress over worrying about our loved ones is consuming. They are the source of many of the arguments we have with our spouses. They cause us to lose sleep. They are the reason we reach for the wine bottle at the end of the day.
They drive us nuts, but we love them, and we will miss them when they’re gone. Enjoy the good times and endure the bad. Raising teenagers and coping with our aging parents is God’s way of preparing us for the next stage in life.
(disclaimer: My intention is not to stereotype or make fun of anyone. Many of my middle-aged friends are experiencing similar situations, therefore I know I’m not alone. A good laugh helps us survive what life dishes out. After all, a life without humor is a life not worth living.)