The We Choose Respect ParentCast Starring Holli Kenley
Another Way Wednesday
For some families the end of Summer marks the end of fun and vacation time. September cookouts are for good byes.
My beautiful wife is a teacher, (she is the reason I am able to create magic shows that are not only fun and interactive but effective in motivating kids to make healthy choices and to be respectful) Our end of the Summer cook outs are a way for her fellow teachers to come together and get ready for the school year to come. And for the past few Summers our cookout has been the start of a beautiful adventure for my family as we welcome a new international student to share our home.
This year we have welcomed Camilla into our family. She is an exceptionally intelligent, caring and respectful young woman from Italy. She will be with us until December while she studies at one of our favorite Boston high schools.
There are eight other Italian students at the school with Camilla, and we invited them all over to enjoy a typical American cook out. (Camilla is a huge fan of my potato salad.)
After devouring the food the Italian kids decided to burn off the calories with a friendly game of basketball at the nearby park. As the evening approached one of the young women came back to gather her things and to say good bye. She explained she had to leave now in order to catch the bus that would get her close to her host family’s home.
“Where does your host family live?” I asked. Since it was only a couple of miles away I offered to give her a ride.
“Oh no, I don’t want you to leave your party, I can take the bus and walk”. I told her it was not a problem but she declined.
We live in a very safe neighborhood in Boston, and this young woman’s host family also lived in a relatively safe area. But this is a city. And like every city it can be dangerous for anyone to walk alone, especially a young woman who has only been in the country for 3 days. I was not entirely comfortable with her decision, but she is 17, I wanted to be respectful and to let her know I felt she had the right to make her own decision. But I also wanted her to make an informed choice.
I asked a couple of the teachers in attendance if they would make the trip our new friend was planning on making. They explained to her some of the concerns they had. One of our guests said “I am going to pass by that street on my way home, I can drop you off, it will not be a problem.”
I am happy to report that our friend agreed to accept the ride. Would she have been OK if she took the bus? Probably. I am most happy that we allowed her to make the decision, and I am thrilled that she is happy she made the decision.
Dealing with teens is a huge challenge for lots of parents. It is kind of like walking a tight rope. You love your kids, you want them to be safe, but you also have to give them the freedom to make choices for themselves, you have to give them the freedom to possible mess up.
That is one reason I love Holli Kenley’s “Another Way”, and the reason I asked her to do this eight week “Another Way Wednesday” series. In this series Holli is giving parents tools they can use to help teens feel respected and empowered, but most importantly to help them understand what their own values are and to help them learn to make decisions based on those values.