Moving spot center in the high school experience for Jordan was a bold and scary parenting decision. I dreaded the emotional turmoil it may cause him. He has a solid group of friends in Katy. He was secure and flourishing in his social life there. So when we plucked him out and said, “now you can start over here in San Antonio” we were crushed in our own hearts to have to do it. There was no way to understand which direction it would go. Would he plummet into an adolescent depression, withdraw, sulk, become sour and give up? That sounds dramatic, but with raging hormones and a life upset like having no plans on Saturday and listening to everyone at school talk about what they are doing is somewhat of a trauma when you are sixteen. When I was sixteen, I was in the deep pit of depression, and knowing it can be genetic, I erected antennae and sent out the radar to detect even a hint of a downward slide.
Of course, as a parent who is conservative and protective, it makes me uneasy to know he will mix with kids who might be doing drugs and having sex, and what if he wants to fit in so much that he does what he needs to so that he can be accepted. That’s the big fear I have. Craig hires top management and I sometimes hear reports that people he asked to move then have lots of trouble with thier teenagers. Ahhhhh!!!! So what approach should I take? I couldn’t even suggest that he avoid “the wrong crowd” because it would offend and hurt him. So I watched and waited. And, I also felt bad that I would even label teens as a wrong crowd, so I find myself praying for them because I know how hard it is to muddle through adolescence and I really believe teens are so needy of good encouragement and strong role models. I myself at 16 may have “looked like” the wrong crowd to preppy parents. I really don’t want to judge, I just want to protect the innocence of my son.
So I watched Jordan carefully without battering him with a bucket of questions. And one month into school, this guy is happy. I mean like, HAPPY. He is maintaining his friendships in Katy, and he has a special friendly friend he really likes back home that spreads that handsome smile on his face often. I recognize that look. He got his driver’s license shortly after we moved here, and he’s a good driver, helping me with tennis runs for the brothers, and offering to fill up the tank, go to the grocery store, and he really loves it when I send him to Target. He’s able to use the fitness center while the brother’s take tennis lessons, and he enjoy that! (Though I wish he wouldn’t look at his pecs in the mirror all the time!)
What he really loves is his ROTC class at school. For more than a year he has determined he would like to be an FBI agent solving difficult cases. I think that is a great fit for him. This young man has excellent street smarts and solid common sense. And if there were a scale for protective instincts, he would bust out the top. (He watches over his mama with serious intent to block if anyone hurts me) But when he talks about being a marine I want to slump into a puddle and soak myself with my own mama tears. I used to be quite vocal in discouraging military service. It was totally selfish, so, recently I am learning to shut up. I really have to press my lips together and fight back from allowing those discouraging comments to fly out when he is talking about it. I’m trying to listen to his enthusiasm. I’m trying. If this is the direction God is sending him then I don’t want to be an obstacle. And clearly he is floating because he loves being involved with this ROTC class so much. So, I see, it is my responsibility to change my mind. So I will. I want to support Jordan as he discovers what God’s path is for his life.
Something shifted this summer for him. And I saw it happen at the same time for Donny so I wonder if it is developmental. It is as if his faith mushroomed, and it became a real and personal matter, not something everyone in his life was suggesting he put first. He went on two mission trips this summer, and I have to believe God met him there and said, “Son, it’s time to be who you are and walk in real way with me.” I saw a young man emerge who is seeking God’s plan, and reading the word on his own for guidance with his feelings, not because he has to show his work for a bible study.
I mentioned he is smitten…and he also has great respect for her father, so in a conversation he and I had before school started this year about school performance, a tender subject, I asked him if he was motivated to do his best. (He is really smart, and mostly getting average grades for not turning work in! How aggravating!) He told me before school started, “yes, I am going to do my best this year”. What is different, I asked. “I want to be worthy of her.”
Awww…that was really a moment when my prayers for him were answered. It was like there were clouds that parted and I could see angels singing. I knew he needed a recipe that would motivate him, and I didn’t have the recipe. I had to wait for God to give it to him. And it seems, moving, driving, a good set of friendships, exercise, ROTC, and hoping for respect from a special girl’s daddy, is the perfect recipe.
Jordan sauntered into my office after school one day with an eager smile on his face to show me the progress report: straight A’s. This is a guy in the past that would hide his progress report and slip away when his brother’s were showing theirs. I’m calling back to those angels and saying, “Hallelujah!”Thank you God, thank you God.
My son has found his niche! Who knew moving would be a catalyst?