Thursday, January 15, 2009

Moms of Teenage Boys

As I drove home from a hillside walk with a friend at dusk, I reflected on the day and thought maybe I missed my chance to observe any good works. But then I remembered the in-depth conversations I had with two moms who are each struggling to find ways to help their teenage sons. What a lesson to me this was. When my son was this age, he gave me the signals to stay out of his business and I took it personally. This was my loss.

What I witnessed from the dedication of the friends I spoke with today is all about sacrifice and letting go. They will go to the end of the earth to provide emotional support for their sons, but they are both realizing that the best thing they can do to help is
let go momentarily when the time is right. This is an art, and anyone who has raised teenage boys will attest it is not mastered easily. The delicate balance between nurturing and smothering is something that can only be achieved by losing one's own ego. We cannot control exactly how our sons will turn out, we can only help them along the way to develop into the the people they are.

This type of compassion and service is not the kind that can be doctored up on occasion or contrived; it is authentic and all-encompassing. The hardest thing for mothers like my two friends can do is to take time for themselves occasionally. Their job is never done; their example to me lasts forever.

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