Even though much of my work is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to write, and this is the place for that. Feel free to join in the conversation. Thanks for reading.
At the beginning of each new season, I typically create a list of goals, stuff that needs to get done and other stuff I hope will be accomplished. This summer, aware of big shifts afoot, I put a few new items on the list. Things like surprise, socializing and exploring new possibilities, as well as revisiting a few oldies but goodies (blueberry picking and bike rides).
In addition to spending lots of time with my trio of teens, I have taken a break from my “usual” Circle topics and suspects (miss you all!), to be in Circle with teens. And so I have had the privilege to be with young people discovering their voices to write their college essays. Also, I have enjoyed introducing mindfulness practices to dozens of teens. Minding moments and making stories out of mundane moments makes this heart sing! Who would think teens would actually look forward to turning off tech to be in Circle?
I am simply immersed in teen energy this summer and it’s nothing less than SPARKY!
In Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Dan Siegel proposes that the “ESSENCE” of adolescence (ES: emotional spark, SE: social engagement, N: novelty-seeking and CE: creative exploration) is precisely what we all need to thrive! The insights of the brainstorm during teenage transitioning are fascinating and have completely shifted my approach to, and appreciation of, teens. I am noticing how they live, what matters, how they manage life’s twists and turns. As a result, my lines and rules formerly etched in stone have become more flexible. I am really working hard on judging less and listening more. Often, I do my own thing and give them the space they crave. Healthy doses of friends and fun are simply mandatory.
In the name of having more fun, we completed a tour of musicals, all of which I highly recommend. We’ve been heckled by our very own Freckles the Heckler (Mia in A Good Knight), watched Sting’s Last Ship sail out of Chicago, LOL :) @ The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (again!) and enjoyed a shocker at Avenue Q (who would think porn and purpose could be combined in a muppets musical!?). Great memory-making moments, all. We also escaped to the beach whenever possible, ate a lot of snack suppers, and watched some old favorite TV shows (yes, you read that right). We welcomed new friends and proudly flaunted our fair city. We tried new restaurants, new summer camps and varying sleep schedules. Each week was a completely different experience.
This week, a dozen teens camped out in my back yard. I was nervous, as you might figure. Watching a whole crew of 18 year olds SO enjoy building a fire, prepping tents, grilling many meats, and just being with each other is among my summer highlights. As they prepare to fly the nest, they love making wonderful memories, by just being together. Sure, their college lists are being made and checked off. Mostly, there’s a lot of FUN being had.
Isn’t that what the summer of life is for? Get sparky! Get your fun on! School starts in 15 days. And let me know if you want to borrow a teen to inspire you to try something new!