To truly be committed to a life of honesty, love and discipline, we must be willing to commit ourselves to reality. ~John Bradshaw
Kyle is a full blown teenager. And with that status, there are certain acceptable and some non-acceptable aspects to that age and stage in life. I get it, I do. However, how do you know when the line has been overstepped into disrespect, not only because of the teenager status but due to outside influences? And how do you correct it, especially since it’s being disguised and hidden as a teenager?
Personally, I can handle Kyle and his attitude. He’s human, and a growing young man who’s trying to find his own path in life, and searching to adulthood. I respect all of that, and I always make myself available to Kyle for guidance and support, whether he likes it or not. My love for Kyle surpasses all that and beyond. Granted, I don’t tolerate disrespect, but I do forgive and love unconditionally. It’s no secret, I’ve reiterated these thoughts to Kyle a time or two, or three or four.
Is Kyle aware he likes to be difficult? I guess all teenagers do to a certain extent, or at least they will. I did, maybe not at the moment, but upon reflection, I did. Again, normal growing pains, I understand and accept but shear snottiness I don’t. Honestly, Kyle is a good kid. How do I know? I have proof!
Last Friday was the first football game of the season. I was asked to do my “parental” duty and chaperon the band. Gladly! Keep in mind, I don’t do this for myself or for any other reason other than to spend time with Kyle and support his interests. Driving an hour to and from the school is not my ideal way to spend a Friday night, plus being responsible for a group of teenagers. I do it because I enjoy seeing Kyle happy, as well as the other kids. I do it because family is important and sometimes that means going out of your way to being apart of it. I don’t get paid, I don’t want recognition and I don’t need any special perks. I love volunteering and being of assistance. (I had to go into that dissertation because I was accused of such things when I became a band chaperone.)
How does this prove Kyle is a good kid?
Taking the long way to get the point, I have an example. Trying to give Kyle respect and keeping my distance, I didn’t bother him at all on Friday, until just before the game was ending. My Dad asked to see if Kyle would come home with me and I’d take him back the following day after a party he was invited to, near his house. When I made my way to the top of the bleachers to talk to him, Kyle was just plain snotty and miserable. He was a little crapper. In fact, I had to look him in the eyes and say, “Be nice Kyle.” I never yelled, or caused a scene, but I was stern to show not to push me. Kyle’s response? He continued with the major attitude, rolling his eyes and putting up walls. Again, I repeated, “I’m asking you to be nice. Just be nice.” Kyle didn’t say anything but he certainly pouted and had a major attitude. Not to stir an argument, I left him alone and retreated back to the band parent section.
Upon my return, the one mom, whom I’ve known since Kyle was little, (her daughter and Kyle have been in the same grade since elementary school) ask me how my talk went. Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. When I reiterated the conversation, she chuckled, knowing this teenage stage, but was also in a little shock. She told me that Kyle is a very respectful and polite young man. She’s never seen anything to the contrary come from him in public and towards parents or authority figures. That I can live with! I don’t want him to grow up to be a jerk to people. I guess some influence has worn off and landed on Kyle.
Is Kyle aware he’s a pawn, and he’s being dramatically influenced, not for good? That’s my bigger question. The one question that truly keeps me up at night. With teenagers especially, it’s easier to take the path of least resistance and the one that offers freedom, no accountability and less work. Normal. It’s not in Kyle’s best interest to support such actions, but understandable. I know it’s also a normal response to want to dump added stress factors to make others happy, especially for a kid. I get it.
How do you combat all that, not for ego, but simply for the betterment of a child?
I’m really not sure. I guess me showing Kyle love, understanding and support.
Recently, I had the honor and privilege of being offered some very good advice from a retired school teacher. (Once a teacher always a teacher) She told me to keep doing what I’m doing, no matter what. Keep loving Kyle and being there for him. She also advised me to let him fall, metaphorically speaking. She said if no one is supporting you and Kyle’s giving major resistance, let him crash and burn, even with school. She continued, “He has to fail to figure out how to grow.” She also commented that it’s hard to stand back and let this happen. I completely agree with her logic, but it’s not easy. My heart breaks when Kyle is upset, or messes up, or doesn’t do well in school or has a hard day. I’m happiest when he’s succeeding, and content in life, and simply happy with God in his life. I wonder if Kyle’s aware of all that?
I’m glad Kyle has the influence of the band. They’re a great group of kids and the parents really care for them. All their actions are selfless and out of love. Seeing Kyle surrounded in that environment puts me at ease.
On another somewhat related but side note, I don’t know what it is about me that puts seriously insecure people’s insecurities into overdrive. Is it because I’m not a nurturer and I don’t coddle or baby others? Maybe because I don’t tolerate excuses and finger pointing, but instead offer solutions? Is it because I set my standards high and expect the same from others? Maybe it’s because I call people out on their lies and ulterior motives? Either way, I know Kyle has struggles in making certain people happy for their own arrogance and control. I wish I could help more. Now onto the funny.
The funny? You bet, it’s never a story from me without a bit of humor and adventure. This time I have two funnies.
While the band was practicing, before marching to the stadium for the football game, the parents where helping tape up gloves, pour water and be of assistance. Just before leaving, the band director was going through the songs and having the band rehearse. As our yellow shirt group chatted among ourselves, watching the Big K (that’s what they call Kiski Band), the band director announced, “Cold Water”.
Just then, a few parents did an about face and headed for the area where the water was poured into cups, waiting to be passed to out to parched band members. At that very moment, Diane, the head of the band chaperones, called over, “No wait, that’s the name of the song!” What? I about died laughing. The band was playing Cold Water by Major Lazer and Justin Bieber . To be honest, I was ready to head for the water too. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was too comical.
Now onto funny number two.
The band goes out before the game and plays the National Anthem and the school Anthem before returning to their seats in the bleachers. Then, they do a few songs for halftime, plus they’re in the stands playing for every touchdown and for encourage. All this playing builds up a thirst. The band boosters serve cups of water. Usually, we tray up the water and pass it out while the kids are entering the bleachers, and sometimes we wait and pass out refreshments while the students are already seated.
During this process, I made sure I stayed to my side of the bleachers, while Kyle was on the other. Although, I couldn’t resist a funny idea I had. I started to hand cups of water to kids who didn’t ask for it, and instructed them to pass it to Kyle. I’m not talking about one or two cups, I asked Kyle about eight cups of water. I don’t know why I thought that was so funny, but it was. Some kids looked confused upon my request, until I flashed them an ornery grin (which I’m sure resembled Kyle’s). Some students giggled, knowing what I was up to.
I told a couple of parents what I did and they started laughing. I said, “Can you imagine him sitting there and everyone handing him a cup of water?” I thought that was so funny. I added, “Next time I’ll bring a marker and label his cups with a big old KYLE, LOVE AUNT HEATHER on it.” The parents about died at that comment. I thought that was clever, especially since Kyle wouldn’t talk to me.
I don’t want to embarrass him, but I do want Kyle to know I’m there for him and I love him deeply. Believe it or not, the water is very symbolic with me and Kyle. I’ve always encouraged him to drink water, and I’ve always made sure he was hydrated, his entire life. His health was always important to me. I love that little guy!
Good luck this weekend at the band competition. It’s at Kiski. Proud of you buddy, you look great!