Dear Mommy and Daddy:
Imagine how you would feel if you were told that, two years from today, our entire family would need to relocate to a different part of the country. You would certainly be quite concerned – for good reason. Think of all the questions you would have. Here are just a few of them:
• Where will we live?
• Will we be able to find jobs in the new location?
• Will we be prepared for those new positions?
• Will we make new friends?
• How about our old friends – will we still stay close?
• What will our standing be in the new community?
Now imagine what your anxiety level would be like if you would not be able to answer a single one of these questions.
Welcome To Our World
Welcome to our world.
Mommy, Daddy, I only posed these questions to you so you would gain some insight into my world.
You always say that you remember what it was like to be a teenager. I think you may remember on some level, but please don’t take this personally – I don’t think you really “get it.”
Come to think of it, I only asked you some of the questions that go through my mind. There are so many more.
• Will I get into a good high school and seminary?
• Which one?
• Who will I marry?
• Will I marry?
• How am I supposed to figure out whom to marry?
• Will I have a great marriage or will we fight all the time like some of my friends’ parents?
• Will I have children?
• What will they look like?
• Will I be able to afford to give my kids the things that we have at home?
These past few months you both have been complaining about how “I am changing.” You say that you don’t recognize me anymore. We argue more than we ever did.
Well, I am changing!! My body is changing, my mind is changing, and my life is changing. We both have to deal with that. I am not eight-years old any more. I still love you very much, but I need to move on and get my own life.
And what frustrates me is that I can’t seem to discuss things with you without a full-blown argument over my clothing, my friends, my language, whatever!
I thought that writing things down in a few letters might help you understand the big picture – what it is really like to be a teenager.
I am hoping that you will come to understand why my friends are so important to me, why I “zone out” sometimes. Why I get moody and impatient, and roll my eyes (sorry about that) when you lecture me.
I hope you will read this carefully. It was quite difficult to write this letter, but I’m hoping that it will be a good first step in improving our relationship.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.
For more information on the Project Y.E.S. teen and parent mentoring programs, to access our list of parent resources, please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com.