Growing up, my parents tried hard to keep me involved in “positive” activities. Options were limited in such a small town, but I played Little League and stayed in the Boy Scouts until my mid-teenage years.
On most Sundays we attended a small Congregationalist church where 2/3 of the time was spent shaking hands and greeting neighbors. The other 1/3 was spent singing. If I spent Saturday night at my friend Steve’s house, ( RIP brother ) I’d accompany his family to the local Catholic church where I would spend the seemingly endless hours mouthing along to the responses and refrains, pretending to know what I was doing.
I went to Youth Group, including a couple of weekend retreats. I saw Amy Grant in concert. I’ve read The Bible cover to cover multiple times. I didn’t grow up to be an overly pious adult, but I like to think I’ve stuck with the basic “Do unto others” principle more often than not.
The teen has always been what most people would describe as a “good kid”, but like all of us, she hasn’t always chosen wisely in those WWJD moments.
So a few years ago we started going to church. I found another small Congregationalist church relatively close to home, with an elderly pastor we both liked. I figured that even if she didn’t buy into the spiritual side of the sermons, she would enjoy the hymns and no harm could come from another voice telling her to be good.
We lasted a few months. Kayla eventually got tired of being dragged out of bed on Sunday mornings and I decided not to push her. Would I have tried harder had it not been football season? Hard to say for certain.
It came as something of a surprise when Kayla then later joined a different church’s youth group. She started attending every Sunday service, sometimes staying at her grandmother’s Saturday nights so that it would be easier to get there. Other than that it was of a Protestant denomination I didn’t know much, but we gave her the standard warnings about Kool Aid, kept our ears open for excessive references to the Book of Revelations, and tried to be supportive.
Things became clearer this past weekend when she came home from a retreat upset about a boy. I had forgotten one of the most basic tenets of understanding teenage female behaviors. Its ALWAYS about a boy.
I’m assuming she plans to go back this weekend, and will be encouraged to do so. The more “positive” activities she involves herself in, the better.
I just wish there didn’t always have to be a boy.