Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Tree On My Wall

Pinterest is a time sucking form of social media that inspires a wealth of creativity.  Because of this, I love Pinterest.  Not the time sucking part; the wealth of creativity part.    Over the last several months we have been redoing our family room.  The rearranging left a large wall area perfect for a minimalist mural.   I had been seeing the beautiful minimal trees on Pinterest and decided I must have one; unfortunately, I cannot draw or paint.  I can sew a straight seam; I just can’t draw a straight line.  Fortunately, I know a beautiful teenage girl who is incredibly talented and can draw or paint anything and she was gleeful to come to my assistance and do the project for me.   Since she is self-motivated in art, there was very little for me to do except give her an idea of what I wanted.   She sketched her vision for the mural which was way better than any idea of mine and set to work over a few days this summer.  The 20’ x 8’ wall became her canvas.  Plus she named all the birds.
Here is the result: 
She did a beautiful job and I could not be more pleased!

In the process of this project and a few other incidents that have happened with my own sons over the summer, I’ve come to determine that adults undervalue youth.  Most adults have no idea what young people are thinking and how hard they are searching for value, not for what they will eventually achieve, but for who they presently are.  I’m not simply speaking of academic or athletic achievements; I’m speaking of spiritual contributions too.   Most people believe teens are slackers who put forth little effort; yet, what I see in my world are slacker adults.  They believe the teen years should be full of entertaining social events.  The bar is set low.   When rebellion sets in, the excuse “that’s just what happens in the teen years” seems to fit.   This is wrong and unfair to the generation.
I’ve had the pleasure this summer to open my home to fifteen young people who have been in and out my doors almost on a daily basis.   My house and the local volleyball court were the gathering places for these beautiful people this summer and that could be for several different reasons (a) I have two cute sons (b) I have the space (c) food is always available (d) I have rules but not too many (e) they know they are always welcome.  This particular group of kids love each other and wanted to spend as much time playing and praying together as they could before some left for college, etc. 
I believe they feel undervalued.  I suppose that has always been a generational struggle but it seems more noticeable to me recently.   These kids are smart, talented, well spoken, generous and respectful yet are given little credit for their abilities.    They are pushed to stay in their own space, not to give an opinion, contain their zeal, and go find themselves at college.  When they get a job, marry, have children and become monetarily stable, they are acceptable adults ready to contribute to the world.   This troubles me….  I see so many teens with amazing gifts and spiritual maturity eager to contribute to their community but squelched by a generation that doesn’t understand or appreciate them.
So this post is for the teens that spent a large part of their summer in my house.  They did not mind the dusty, dog haired floors or the fact that my hair changed different wild shades of orange and red this summer or that my T-shirt and shorts were sometimes raggedy when they showed up.   They encouraged me to “just keep sewing” during a crazy month of June.  They tolerated a wild barking wiener dog that protects me like a 7’ body guard and the messy unmade beds.   They slept in the floor and on couches that were rearranged every time they showed up while we redid our floors.  They would be in my front porch swing chatting away when I got home from work.  They brought food, ate our food, cleaned up their messes and laughed and talked and darn it I miss them now that school is back in session.  I hope they felt valued, loved, wanted, and appreciated.   Frankly, I’d rather spend time with teens and the twenty-something crowd than most “adults” I know.   They help bring my heart to a place of worship more than anything else and I am happy to share my “walls”, “stage” and “piano bench” with them.   I love them and I hope they know they always have a soft place to land in our home.

Thanks for reading, Rosie.