to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A 'Teenager' in the House?

Danaka was born 13 years ago today.   While unborn I had been calling her  "Little One".  Was I ever surprised when she weighed 10 lbs 4 ozs!! 

Everette and I never feared having 'teenagers' in our house, although since Layne and Rauchelle were about 3 & 4 yrs old we had a 'friend' who would always say, "Just you wait until you have teenagers!" and he'd proceed in telling us how terrible  and rebellious those teenager years will be.

Lots of people fear 'the teen years' and enter there with fear and trepidation, anticipating rebellion & heart-ache.  I think it's a lot of you-get-what-you-expect.  

We never believed it, never anticipated or expected it, and never experienced it.  Our now-lovely-20+yo  women are wonderful daughters of whom we've grown to love and understand more and more each year.  Although we had some personality struggles here and there, and a stretching in areas of personal ideas, beliefs, responsibilities, etc., I think we had a great time with them as 'teenagers'.

And today we have re-entered the 'teen' years with Danaka's birthday.  That signifies that every 18-24 months now for at least the next 11 years we'll be welcoming another child of ours into the teen years.  To us, they are just 'teen' years because of the name of the digit (ie, thirteen, fourteen, etc.) not to continue in childishness and immaturity.  These are great years to mature and anticipate adulthood, not to postpone maturity and responsibility.  These are exciting years.  I love them!!

Note:   It's weird to think that Everette's and my parents' generation were of the first 'teenagers' the world had.  Dad J was born in 1926, so he was one of the first to become a 'teenager' in idea, although he was never treated as a 'teenager' but went from child right to being an adult.

Here's some history about the origin of the word 'teenager' from

Origin: 1938

In the first part of the twentieth century, we made a startling discovery. There were teenagers among us! Until then, we had thought of people in just two stages: children and adults. And while childhood might have its tender moments, the goal of the child was to grow up as promptly as possible in order to enjoy the opportunities and shoulder the responsibilities of an adult. The girl became the woman, the boy became the man. It was as simple and significant as that.

Or was it? The reforms of the early twentieth century, preventing child labor and mandating education through high school, lengthened the pre-adult years. In earlier times, a person reaching adult size at age thirteen or fourteen was ready to do adult work. Now adult size was achieved as soon as ever, but preparation for adult responsibilities lasted until age eighteen or later. Thus the years ending in -teen became something new and distinctive. Depending on your point of view, these years were either to be savored as the best of times, combining childhood freedom with adult physical maturity, or endured as years of hazard, combining childish irresponsibility with adult urges.

To match our gradual recognition of this new phenomenon, we adopted new terminology. First, in the 1920s, we began to use teenage to speak of clothes and activities, girls and boys, in the latter cases recognizing the teen years but still assigning them to childhood. About two decades later, against the backdrop of depression and war, teenager was born. The exact date has yet to be determined; the word makes a matter-of-fact appearance in a 1941 issue of Reader's Digest, but being derived from long-established teenage, it must have been around at least a few years earlier.

The teenager remade our world. The concept is profoundly democratic by right of chronology: every child, regardless of wealth or merit, can look forward to an age of vigor and independence. And it is subversive: why should any teenager enjoying freedom submit to the authority of adults? With the discovery of this new age, ours has been the century of the teenager ever since. 

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