You Do You
I’ve heard this phrase strewn about between all the teens in my life lately.
It’s a good idea and I really appreciate the fact that they are exhorting each other to be themselves, to be unique, to not just follow the leader… At least that’s what I think they’re saying.
The catch, however, the pre-requisite is that you know who you are. Right? In order for you to “do you”, you must indeed know exactly who you are! Here in lies the difficulty with this seemingly simple proclamation.
Let’s speak metaphorically. Let’s look at our teens in terms of baggage. LOL. I promise I don’t mean this in a bad way. Just stick with me for a minute.
So say your teen has this 17-year-old suitcase. This suitcase is an original engineered and produced by God (Psalm 139:13 & Jeremiah 1:5). He makes one of a kind suitcases. True pieces of art. He uses an array of colors, styles, material. No two are the same. And He is perfect and meticulous and proud when He’s finished. Then He hands his original one-of-a-kind piece of art over to us. Yikes! Scary! But what a gift!
For the sake of this analogy, consider the “suitcase” or “soul” of your own teen here. God handed this “suitcase” over to your care for you to do and oversee the initial “packing”. Let’s assume at this point, we all, as parents, have tried to do the best we could with the gift God entrusted to us.
DISCLAIMER!! PLEASE, do NOT find a trap of guilt-ridden shame from this post, concerning your parental short-comings as it is NOT my intention at all. Rather my goal here is to help our teens learn who they are so they can indeed be themselves.
All of them, as are we, are trudging through this fallen world fighting a battle in a war that they inherited at birth. A battle for their very identity!
So back to the suitcase (that is your teen :), We began that packing. Hopefully mostly good was added by our hand but because we aren’t perfect inevitably some bad got in their as well. Some we added ourselves and some inevitably snuck in. Hateful words spoken by an ignorant teacher. Actions inadvertently or advertently made by a thoughtless bystander. Idiots and ignorance abound sometimes. Never the less these things (all be it lies) were neatly packed away somewhere in that suitcase and after some time have a way of becoming a part of the inner lining, the very fabric that makes up the suitcase.
More good and bad are thrown in over the course of the 17 years that gets us to this point. And we know, as adults, this process doesn’t just cease at our high school graduation! Rather, we just buy a new set of luggage and keep on packing!
We pack until the weight is too much to bare any longer. At which point, we look up and realize we inevitably stopped motivating forward in life due to our heavy load! We’re certainly not “doing us” as we’re not sure which suitcase the true “us” actually resides in anymore!
I want to encourage you (and me) to be vigilant in helping our teens, as only we can, to get to the bottom of their “one-of-a-kind” suitcase and find out just who they are! To be able to see past the immediacy of all the social media around them that has a tendency to consume, and KNOW without a doubt, factually WHO THEY ARE and WHO they were made to be.
I believe whole heartedly that in knowing who they are, everything else, falls into place. Friends, grades, goals, college, etc… all become much easier to contend with, when it is clear to them who they are. The load becomes much lighter.
I LOVE teens. Across the board. Plain and simple. I love to design spaces for them to thrive in, but more importantly, I LOVE to see them thrive. I’m tired of the hurt I see in some of their eyes. The enormous pressure and stress to find their spot in this life. I believe if they all knew who they are (for that matter, if we all knew who we are) they would have no problem abiding by the command, “You do you”. I contend, the command itself would not need to be spoken at all as it would become common-sense.
Happy Teen Tuesday!! Let’s start unpacking and You do you