Sunday, March 09, 2008

The TIME, TREASURE, and TALENTS of teens

In an age where so many adults look at teens as being so difficult to understand and communicate with, I had the JOY yesterday of playing chauffeur and chaperone to 13 Catholic homeschooled teens on a full day of time, treasure and talent. The Authoress is so privileged to have a group of homeschooled teens to hang out with; although they are scattered all over the Lehigh Valley, they get together once a month to do something together, with each family taking a turn to host or coordinate the event.

This month, being Lent, they chose to do some community service, offering their TIME to an elderly woman who is in the process of getting her house ready to sell as she prepares to move into a smaller apartment. For two hours, they scrubbed toilets, cleaned closets, dusted bookshelves, and performed all kinds of other chores. I had just dropped my daughter off, and they had no actual supervision aside from the lady herself.

At the appointed hour, I arrived with the van (one of the teens is a senior and drove the other van) to help transport the gang to the next activity they chose -- that of confession. I cannot tell you the gratitude I felt in my heart as I knelt there with all of them saying the rosary, and then lining up with them to meet our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Aside from the cleansing joy that comes from confession alone, I had the added joy of seeing The Authoress and her friends truly living out our faith....the true TREASURE.

From there we headed to the "host" family's home, and they spent an hour playing pool, ping pong, and air hockey until dinner. I sat amongst them at the table, and had the joy of total acceptance as one of them, and not just an adult. We then headed off to a local high school to watch their annual spring musical, and we enjoyed the TALENT that God has given to so many. A good number of these kids are also in my own music theater class, so they appreciate all the more the talents of others. (They also shared a bit of my "set envy" as we discussed how our current location does lack for a curtain, a real stage, and the like....but we also realized that we have FUN as we work with what God gives us.)

As I sat there with this amazing group of kids, I realized that throughout the day, I was the only adult chaperone for the most part. What struck me was that I didn't NEED to be there at all. Aside from one of the guys ripping up a bit of program for confetti on the girl's head in front of him, these kids were as well behaved as mature adults. The day was a true gift of JOY for me, and a real affirmation for my vocation as of late. As this time of year often brings those self doubting days of "am I really doing the right thing?", yesterday was a resounding YES from God! If my commitment to homeschooling can help nurture the growth of these teens as they share their time, treasure, and talent with others for the glory of God, then I will die at peace. Thank you, God, for teens!

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