Sit back for a minute and think about the person you were in your teenage years. I remember myself to be shy, lacking confidence and very insecure. Add in a little flair for dramatics when something needed to be correct and you get the yin and yang of me.
I laugh when I think of the dramatic side. Once driving my mom’s car to the dealership because an ongoing issue happened again while I was driving it and I demanded they look at it. Somehow at 17, they gave me a loaner and kept the car for some extended period of time to figure it out. I think about that service guy behind the counter being barked at by spunky me. That kid still had a lot to learn.
Then there was that other side of me. She was very happy to blend into the crowd just to survive high school. Going from private school to public school was a huge change. Private school had a class of 30 and most of those people I knew since kindergarten. Public high school was completely the opposite and my graduating class was around 200. I was grateful for my new-found friends that I made and are friends with some even now.
Fast forward to now. My own daughter is in 10th grade and living her best life. We just spent a week at Disney World together and I was in awe of her personality, sense of humor, determination and endurance. Not all things you’d normally see on vacation, but this kid had a mission to hit her favorite rides despite the spring break crowds.
I had a lot of one-on-one time with her this week. She wanted to rope drop and when her brother didn’t, mom and dad chose how to split up the time to make both kids happy. I think I got the better part of the deal most days.
While driving home, I heard an ad on the radio to support teens in a formal setting. I thought of my clients and how I help them individually. My style works for us. But the one thing I took away was that teens just want someone to listen and not judge. They look for direction, but they also need us to keep an open mind.
In no way do I think my approach is the best, but when I see living and breathing proof of the one person I’ve had complete influence on, I sit here and am amazed. She’s blossoming into a young woman who rivals my own memories of my teenage years. I was always told I was a good kid, smart, etc. But my daughter is beautiful inside and out. I’m so happy I get a front row seat.