My husband and I got married when I was 18. He is quite a bit older than I am, but we work, really well together. When we first got married he wanted to have kids right away because of his age, and I thought I did too. So at my age of 19 we started trying. I am so grateful the Lord knows what is best for us, because I wasn’t ready then. I was 24 when I had my first child, and then 3 more followed in the next 5 years. I learned some things those first few years. I don’t really care for the newborn stage of life. Now, my own kids, I loved, because they were the cutest, best babies ever, but I don’t look back on that stage and wish we were there again. I also don’t swoon over new babies of friends and family that are around me. Other women fight over the chance to hold the new baby, and I can observe from a distance and be just fine.
I loved it when we kids developed. Each new skill allowed them more freedom. Some people hate it when their kids start to crawl. I loved it! They could move themselves and I didn’t have to carry them everywhere, at least some of the time, and they were happier and more content. Walking, what a blessing! They could move themselves, they were experiencing more freedom, and they were happier because they were in more control of themselves and what they wanted to do. I loved watching them learn, everyday and explore their world around them. I did not like the temper tantrums, the “I can do it myself!”, and things of that nature, but who does? But still, this is not my favorite age, in fact, this only ranks one step higher than infant.
Childhood is fun, starting school, learning new things, coming home with a new vocabulary is always a great learning process. I loved watching my kids learn in school, being able to be there almost everyday for over 10 years to see what they were doing, help out in their classrooms and in other capacities throughout the school. We had many lively discussions about what they were learning, how to filter through truth and error, etc. This was a great time of life, what I thought was super busy, but still not my favorite.
Teenagers. Of all the age groups I love the most, it’s teenagers. I love my own, I have 4 teenagers right now, one just starting (13 almost 14), 2 in the middle (15 and 17), and one at the end (19). They come with their own challenges, but it is such a period of growth, from being almost completely dependent, to being completely independent and on their own. There is such a learning curve, and some kids seem to sail right through it all, while others can’t seem to catch a break. I am so grateful for my teenagers. Some of them have gone through really hard years at school, as well as with friends. Some are not always respectful, but are willing to admit when they were wrong. I am definitely not a perfect parent, but I am so grateful for the gospel and the values it has instilled in me, that I am able to strive to instill in my kids. They are not perfect either, but they are growing up into awesome people, who care about others, who strive to take care of themselves, who make mistakes and fix them. They are awesome kids.
I am also grateful for the youth that I get to work with from my Church. I teach an early morning seminary class for high school age youth. We start at 6:30 am, which means these kids are getting up between 5 and 5:30 every morning to get there on time. We have 14 students that attend almost every morning. My son plays basketball, as well as several of the other, and most of them play some kind of sport throughout the school year, or participate in other extracurricular activities, which means they aren’t getting home several nights of the week until 8 or 9 at night. But they never make excuses for seminary. They show up, most of the time they don’t sleep, and they participate in the discussion. I watch these youth, and a lot of teenagers in my area. They are figuring things out. As I watched my oldest get ready to leave home for college, there was the excitement, but also a little bit of worry. Worry that she could do it on her own, worry that she might not find a job, worry about scholarships and college. But she stepped out and did it anyway. So many teenagers right now feel the same things as graduations and adulthood loom closer, but they take courage, they step out, and they do it anyway.
The other thing I love about teenagers is that you can talk to them. Especially when they are really seeking answer. But to get to that point you really have to listen. I love driving with my kids places, especially one on one. The drive usually starts out pretty quiet. Sometimes the radio gets turned on, but when they really need to talk, the radio gets turned off, there are long pauses for them to think, and there are great discussions. My husband was worried initially as our kids started high school because of the driving times to some of their schools and activities. He wanted to car pool with others, or send them on the bus to save me time and save us gas money. I said that wasn’t an option. He couldn’t understand at first, but he now enjoys the rides home (as much as I do) with just one kid from a basketball game or to a school event or activity, the discussions about everything under the sun from dirt bikes to basketball games, and everything in between.
I am so grateful for all the stages of life, each one has it’s pros and cons. But, I really do enjoy teenagers the most. I would love to hear from you. What is your favorite age group of kids and why?