20 August, 2007

Shawn McDonald and evening with teens

...and a bit of a ramble regarding this season of life as a mom of multiple teens. It really can be a joy, we just have to figure out the best ways to juggle the "hows," "wheres," and "whens," realizing that our Joy is not dependent upon temporary things, but in Christ alone.

Each family is different, especially in the home schooling community. I do not begrudge anyone their choice of family or parenting style, to youth-group-or-not-to-youth group, or how long they have their kids live at home. This is NOT what this post is about.

Unlike some home school families, we do NOT have a family/group business (yet--I'm always hopeful and open to the possibility). We are jacks and jills of many trades, Hubby teaches in the secular, private-school sector, we volunteer a lot, and have many hobbies that stay within the rules of the hobby law, so we have not taken on converting any of that to a supportable business as of yet.

Having stated all of that up front, I'll say that for us, having older teens means more changes in family routines and time together. We've had at least one (but now three, soon-to-be four) "teenager(s)" in the house for 5.5 years. This very particular transition phase of being parents of teens that we've been in for only a year has been interesting (oldest ds didn't get an outside job until he was 17.5, now both older teens work at a "well-known" coffee shop chain, a great place for ministry).

So, as you can already guess, the biggest change in this phase is a teen's first job outside of home and getting a driver's license. We happen to have two in that category, now, one of them a high school graduate, preparing for college years. It generally means (especially for one-income families) that several drivers are juggling minimal cars over the varied schedules.

Because of these new ventures and our various individual needs, we're having to make a special effort to have family dinners together. We all have such varied schedules, plans, duties, etc, vying for our quality re-grouping time. This summer was the worst in terms of time just to hang together and simply visit or discuss big hopes and dreams. I believe we should guard this time, while it has been granted to us as families. I hope it settles down into a more regular thing again, after school gets underway.

Still, with Hubster's school schedule, the two older kids' work schedules, the kids' band schedule, my three days/week of teaching/grading schedule, and all four of the kids' youth group smörgåsbord of activities-from-which-to-choose, group-family time (family meal time) needs to be made a priority once again (preaching to myself, here). We are still a team, after-all, that lives under the same roof! When our oldest flies the nest (which may be sooner rather than later) then he is, of course, exempt!

I knew this season was coming, and I'm glad that it is a gradual shift. I don't know how well we would deal with it, otherwise. Life seems to step up a notch in "busy-ness" a little each year.

All of us of the Booksnkaffeehaus, kids and parents alike, are very "Type B" people. We are spontaneous. We are relaxed but passionate (I think we must have some Italian in us somewhere). We share similar, eclectic interests in music, and we share in music ministry sometimes, as well.

Tonight, the older two and I got to go to see/hear, and sing a little with the formerly Indie singer/songwriter Shawn McDonald, a Christian folk singer. It was a smallish venue, so we got to be close to the stage, SRO. His first album "Simply Nothing" is one of my top five, favorite albums. I appreciate this guy's humility and his dislike of receiving attention for what he does. Shawn is a dad, now, and one can tell that his depth in lyric and music has grown since '04. His witness and testimony is wonderful, too. He has not been a life-long Christian and in fact, was raised by his Grandparents.

We met up with a couple of their/our friends at the concert (both high school graduates from our home school co-op), then went into town for a late snack on the town square. Our oldest son and his friend took turns playing the guitar while we three gals sat on the grass by the courthouse and just soaked in the late-night breeze, the cooler temps, and the relaxing and calm atmosphere. THAT was a treat, and truly a bonding evening, where there was no agenda but to enjoy God's music and lyrics, and to be drawn to a deeper relationship with Jesus through contemplative lyrics and beautiful cords. It was a nice evening which helped celebrate our summer drawing to a close.

Next on the list, Hubster, aka The "Dread-Pirate Sparsebeard" wants to have some sort of an end-of-summer party/cookout.



Birdie said...

Sounds like a pretty wonderful life to me! Congratulations!

Javamom said...

Thank you, Birdie. It was wonderful, and I DO count it as a huge blessing from God.

And, this blessing wasn't without times of trial. Young people do struggle with hormones and attitudes, even if they've been homeschooled. WE are all human, afterall. One key is to keep the relationship in its proper place of importance...love them and forgive even as you have to set sometimes very tough boundaries or enforce strict and effective consequences. Sometimes the natural consequences are painful enough that its effectiveness is supreme.