I was talking on the phone with my friend the other day, and we were going on and on about causes. She said, “I always want to help the underdog. I feel a pull to rescue the oppressed, downtrodden, weak or afflicted.” And anyone who knows me knows this is true of me as well.
If the weird kids were getting mocked in High school, I was befriending and defending them. If there was a beggar on the street, my heart ached to find the dirty old guy somewhere safe and clean to stay. Whether he wanted it or not. The starving in Africa, the oppressed in Iran, the sweat shops, the polygamist wives, the illegal immigrants living in shanty towns, the entire population of the Lower Ninth. . . all tug at me begging me to help them. It’s quite difficult to be a bleeding heart. There is a lot of need in this world.
So, why does it surprise me that I have become a landing pad for teenagers? They perceive themselves as downtrodden, picked on, harassed, and abused. We won’t even go into oppressed. Every pore exudes this forlorn neediness that just begs for soothing. I want to sit them at the counter, fill their stomachs with good food and fill their hearts with self-esteem and love. I want them to laugh and remember they have more joy available to them than they can imagine.
Except for when the teenagers belong to me. And I know mine are oppressed and downtrodden just like the rest of their friends. I quite enjoy forcing them into servitude a minimum of twice per week.
But would it kill them to stop being so stubborn? Maybe even pretend to listen once in awhile? Is it too much to ask?