the native teenager in its natural habitat

The other night we went to hear the band Delta Spirit in concert at the Granada theater here in Dallas.  It's one of those deals where you can only talk to your neighbor by shouting directly in his ear, and the bass beat is so strong it could recalibrate your pacemaker. The highlight of the evening, as far as my boys were concerned, was when the lead singer slung his mic over his shoulder and climbed into the catwalk during the finale.  They didn't sing the ballad that is my absolute favorite piece of theirs.  The boys said they didn't sing it, because it isn't a good concert piece.  Not enough whaling on a trash can lid, apparently.

So WHY did I spend $20 to stand in a beer-drinking, toe-crushing, ear-drum-murdering crowd of students for three hours on a Saturday night?

Mainly because I wanted to.  I've listened to my kids' music, and I really like a whole bunch of it.  It's loaded on my iPod, and I even listen to it when no teenagers are around.

And here's why I bother to like my kids' music.  Because they are really into indie folk/rock.  It talks about things that they are interested in, things that matter to them.  It's important to them, and that makes it important to me.

When my kids were little, I got to be in charge of pretty much everything.  I picked out their food and their clothes and their activities and their music and their movies and their TV shows.  And that was fine and as it should be.

But the older they get, the less I want to pick everything.  They have their own ideas.  Their own choices.  Their own preferences.  Because they're going to be adults.  Really, really soon.  And they need to practice.  That's what adolescence is all about.

So, my kids are going to be adults really, really soon.   Having a relationship with another adult is not just about me, and what I like and what I want.  It's got to be about what the other person likes and wants, too.

This is why I think it's important that I let them start to influence me now:  they're practicing to be adults and I'm practicing to be the parent of adults.

I know I've got a lot to learn.

So, native teenagers in your natural habitat, thanks for letting me hang out.

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