Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pecan Trees and Teens

My pecan tree finally leafed out. That's when I know spring is really here. Always the last to "bloom", casting a huge mess of whatevers all over my deck and my dogs right before the leaves show. And then, voila, overnight, it's in full leaf.

Seems to be a good metaphor for life. We wait and wait for something good to happen and many times have to clean up a big mess before we get to the good stuff. And then, voila, overnight there it is. What happens when you don't want to clean up the mess? Well, as someone said (me), it follows you around in a U-Haul trailer so that wherever you are, there's your mess.

Teenagers don't like to clean up messes. They like to make them. They think if they just walk away, the mess will disappear, or someone else will clean it up, because it was someone else's fault that the mess was there in the first place. Makes perfect sense to them.

Our job is to help them clean up, to help them see the consequences if they don't clean up. Most of the teens at PH have big messes that they are just now trying to clean up, after dodging them for years. Some have been on the street, some have been in jail, some have been in abusive relationships, some have been the abusers. But for each of them, our goal is for them to look the mess square in the face and do whatever it takes to fix it. That is not always easy, as teens are famous for blaming someone else for their troubles.

If we are successful, one day (seemingly overnight), they get it and the whole tree leafs out. They finish school, get a job, learn how to be a great parent, refuse to be in an abusive relationship, take responsibility for their lives--and the mess is history.

I think that is worth waiting for.

1 comment:

  1. Reading your post it strikes me that teens are not so different from adults. Many of us, who grew up free from the adversity faced by many Promise House teens, still have a "U-Haul trailer" following us in adulthood. I say "Bravo!" to the teens at Promise House and elsewhere who tactle their 'trailer' early on in life - they are the smart ones!