Children should be allowed to be Kids/Teens/Explorers

By the time you read this it will be “I read this article yesterday” because I am scheduling this to post Thursday.  So today I read an article on the 16-year-old “First Daughter.”  Apparently, she took a selfie of herself wearing a branded shirt.  Said brand got a copy of the picture and proceeded to exploit her fame as a marketing ploy.  And apparently, it’s completely inappropriate for the president’s 16-year-old daughter to like hip hop. It made me angry.

My mother was appointed to her first church when I was about to be a sophmore in high school so I was…. 15? 16?  It took about 3 months and a church member made a snide comment about something I was doing during my mother’s sermon. Taking notes.  Apparently, as the pastor’s kid I was supposed to sit there in the pew and silently gaze at my mother. I don’t learn that way. I can’t pay attention like that. So I took notes. Now, I took notes on my palm pilot (I know, soooo hi-tech!) and so maybe they thought I was playing a game. Still. None of their business. Do you know how many times Sunday morning was the second, third, or fourth time I’d heard parts of my mother’s sermons?

My mom and I talked about it after the service. She reminded me of the pastors’ kids I had known in my previous church – both the associate pastor’s and the youth minister’s kids had been held to a different level of behavior than any other kid in church. We talked about how the youth minister’s 4-year-old had sometimes whined and cried during the service and the snide comments people had made- sometimes calling her a “brat” or “spoiled” because she couldn’t sit still for an hour listening to people drone (and that particular pastor had been a bit of drone-er).

At 15, mom and I could talk about how I could address those comments and how I could deal with the frustration of being put into a cramped box of “expected behaviors” at a time when I was exploring and stretching and growing into an adult.  I still can’t imagine being a 4-year-old of a pastor and being expected to fit into that box of behaviors. I think it is a low, immature blow to attack a kid who is being a kid (and hell, a selfie is hardly the most destructive thing we’ve known politicians’ kids to do at 16).

Politicians, pastors, teachers, business owners… parents only have so much control of this little human they’ve created and nurtured. And just look at siblings – the vast differences that can crop up in lifestyle, habits, preferences. There are so many influences around each of us, you can’t expect every child to be some kind of cookie-cutter-kid who fits your ideals.  Let the kids be kids.

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