The missing years

No doubt there is a theological reason as to why the Bible is silent on Jesus-as-a-teenager. I’ve always wondered why. Perhaps because we are supposed to focus on His short ministry, and not obsess on how He got there. Maybe it’s because He was a typical teenager? After all, He was completely human….

Assuming He was a typical teenager, it is no wonder the Bible is silent. Is there any worse time of life, for both the teenager and the parental-units? As I remember my teenage years, I can only conclude that I am being paid back now. My mother says I wasn’t that bad; I think she’s sugar-coating it (but then, she raised four others, too).
All I can say now is: “Dear God, deliver me – and my wife and our daughter.”

It is easy enough, from this position of nearly 60 years to anticipate. But, it’s like visualizing what is going to happen, and experiencing it unfold. I’m thinking of the hapless pedestrian standing on the curb as the bus zooms by, hitting a water puddle. You know it’s going to happen, and you’re powerless to avoid, or prevent it.

And then there are those things that are completely unexpected, like having a slightly built eighteen year old girl fight tooth and claw against a much older guy who out-weighs her by a good 70 pounds. Frankly, the Marines and years of karate never taught me how to subdue someone without hurting them. Yes, her bite is almost gone now, thank you very much. What compelled her to “fight for her life” when the only issue was her use of the F-bomb? Where’s her perspective? I am clueless.

Of course that most recent of episodes is more fuel to send her on a trajectory that is completely unpredictable – well, other than not being able to wait to flip me the bird the last time she walks out the door.

It would be nice if my wife and I were on the same page for our daughter’s increasinly disrespectful behavior. But our situation can be summed up as “If it’s her (the wife’s) idea, it’s wonderful; if it’s my idea, it’s terrible.” Merely trying to support my wife is no good either: by the time I have figured out what I am trying to support, I am on the wrong side of the argument. I need to remember Biblical silence.

Will we survive all this? Well, the Mayan calendar came and went, so yeah, I guess so. Will we laugh about it someday? I’ll take bets against that one – I’m betting there won’t be any contact at all as soon as she can leave the house (high school graduation is in four months; I think she’s sticking around for that – I think).

The tragedy is that teenagers are so full of themselves, all they can see is that they know everything, and everybody else knows nothing. I know, I was there, once. And, thank God, I can’t ever be a teenager again (yes, that would be my idea of Hell). But, when the blossoms can be so beautiful, it is so very hard to stand by while someone just cuts them off out of spite. How does one be humble and accepting, and still try to teach self-respect and respect for others? I’m old fashioned enough to believe that saying yes to everything is not the answer.

Maybe the Bible would be more helpful if we had a hint as to what Joseph and Mary did when Jesus was being “fully human” as a teen? If Jesus was the “ideal, perfect” teenager, what was that like? If He was a “helion,” how did Joseph and Mary survive?

Mother of God and St Joseph, pray for us.

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