Because there is a curtain that adolescents draw down to obscure your view of them. They are trying on new identities and thinking new thoughts and feeling new things—things they don’t often want to share. They are deceptive and manipulative. Even the good ones. I believe wholeheartedly that my boys are growing into fine young men. But you never really know what’s rattling around in the places that they don’t talk about.
Reading about the mass killing reminds me that I need to stay as tightly attached to my boys as possible. And that even then, there are things that go through a young man’s mind that you can only know in retrospect.
So you hold your breath, and try always to help them find theirs. And say your prayers at night.
Here’s one prayer, from Khalil Gibran.
Your children are not your childrenThey are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itselfThey come through you but they are not from you and though they are with youThey belong not to youYou can give them your love but not your thoughtsThey have their own thoughtsYou can house their bodies but not their soulsFor their souls dwell in a place of tomorrowWhich you cannot visit not even in your dreamsYou can strive to be like themBut you cannot make them just like youStrive to be like themBut you cannot make them just like you
"When kids cause a problem, we expect them to solve it"
—Jedd Hafer, of Love & Logic, speaking to me for my Raise Kids Like a Man blog