Can I get real with you? I hate dealing with teenagers. They are the most self-absorbed, self-centered, demanding individuals on the face of God’s planet. Yet, two of them are my grandchildren whom I desperately love. So I can’t just kill them and be done with it, no matter how much the thought brings my blood pressure down.
Last week, the Sabbath celebration at my house was anything but celebratory.
My grandson, the one who doesn’t believe in all this ‘Jewish stuff’, got off work at 6:30 pm, texted to say he was on his way at 7:30 (so start without him) and didn’t grace us with his presence until 8:30, even though his job is a 5-minute bike ride.
My granddaughter, who the aliens took away last year when she turned 13 and replaced her with an irrational and emotional clone, was doing her best to roll her eyes, play with her hair, and deep sigh during prayers and songs.
Now, in all fairness to them, my nerves were already frazzled. The week at work had been horrendous, a constant fight with my staff to get their job done so I could end not only my day but my week. I desperately needed relief from the pressure I’d been under. I desperately needed to unplug from work and reconnect with my family – the reason I work so hard.
But my two ‘darling’ teenagers would have none of it. All I wanted was a little joy and rest. All I got was anger and resentment. Well, I’d had enough!
I cleared both their places from the table and told them if they didn’t want to enter into the Sabbath joy they didn’t have to, but neither did I have to share my food or my Sabbath with them.
My granddaughter was mortified that I would ‘starve her’ because she wouldn’t sing. My grandson, who was surprised that I caught onto his game, went upstairs quietly.
I ate my meal, put away the leftovers and in the midst of the anger, felt bad for the kids who were hungry. I put out paper plates and plastic utensils for them to use. On my way to bed I gave them permission to eat, but not at the table and not with Sabbath dinnerware.
The next morning my grandson, exercising his ‘adult’ self, reasoned that he could leave the house for the day so that he didn’t have to participate in Sabbath while at the same time avoid stealing my joy. I guess when you are 18 that makes sense. However, when he ended up with a bad stomach ache Saturday night from all the fast food and coffee he consumed, he did some rethinking.
My granddaughter was more conciliatory, though there was still tension in the air. I told both kids that all I wanted was some peace and joy. The Sabbath is a gift from God that offers us peace and joy, and that’s what I wanted – to accept God’s gift.
In my heart, I gave up being able to celebrate the Sabbath with the kids. I decided I was going to head to a Messianic congregation next Saturday, and not be concerned with the kids.
Fast forward to this week where God arranged for my grandson to be off work Friday and not have to report to work until 6 pm Saturday.
Again, Friday found me scrambling to cook dinner between texts, emails, end of week reports, and phone calls. Yet at 7:30, the computer was shut down and our meal preparation was nearing completion. This time the house was clean, and without a word, the grandkids were dressed for Shabbat!
Our meal was filled with song and joy, laughter and cooperation. I even asked my grandson to beat box to ‘Shalom Aleichem’ and after trying to come up with a beat, he said, “Next time.” 🙂
In the morning we enjoyed breakfast, played games throughout the day, and laughed a lot.
While I would love to have joined a family of faith or spent time with the kids studying God’s Word, I was happy that we experienced the joy of the Sabbath. I felt this was our first step as a family.
God did this. Just as He brought me into understanding His Torah and the importance of the Sabbath, He is bringing our family unit along in not only in understanding but in experience.
So what do you do when you want to kill a teenager? You wait on the Lord. He will fix it.