Friday, June 29, 2012

Decorating Advice From Teenagers

One of the perks of hanging out with teenagers is I get a view of life from their perspective.  I learn about parenting from them.  They don't tell me what to do or offer advice, but they say a lot if I'm willing to listen.  Some good and some bad.  I remember one girl describing the first time that she drove to school by herself.  She said it was really hard and she kind of missed her mom because her mom prayed with her everyday on the way to school.  This girl is so hip and cool and sweet and I loved hearing that her mom's daily prayers meant so much to her.  

While on the trip with the Belize team, I picked up on some stuff as well.  One time I asked them for advice.  John and I really want our home to be a safe, secure, and comfortable place for our kids to bring their friends.  We have several reasons why we want our home to be welcoming, but I'll get on that soap box another day.  This is what I asked the kids, "What do I need to do to make my home a fun place for friends to come and hang out?"  They were all over this!  Kids love going to each others' houses, so they had a lot to say about this.  Here are the three things that they told me, and they were all in agreement with them:

Burl loved seeing everyone.  They were so sweet and played with him. Even the boys would go off and play with some of his toys and tools with him.  It was so fun to watch!

Have lots of food and snacks at the house.  They said that having food is very important.  They know which of their friends has the best food.  This one is going to be easy.  When I told John about this one, we both agreed that we are willing to up our grocery budget to make snacks for friends a priority.  

Don't have a clean house.  This one kind of hurt.  I love me a clean house.  It really hurt when they followed it up with, "Meg, your house is always so clean."  I took that as an insult.  They had just said not to have a clean house, but I have a clean house. They tried to tell me that my house was fine and it's not the type of clean house that they were talking about.  I bugged them and asked them a lot of questions on what they meant.  There's more on that in a second.

The last thing that they said was to live in a place that is centrally located and easy to get to.  Some of the kids live further from the city and they said that no one comes to their house.  That was something we thought of when we bought our house.  We live in a central location and I'm glad about that. 

I didn't clean up while they were here.  I just left the mess and talked with them.  It's been a few hours and the mess is still there.  And I'm ok with it.  Belize Meg, holding strong.

More about cleaning...Here it is:  A clean house is ok.  However, it can't feel like a museum with a lot of fancy breakables laying around that have been perfectly polished.  They named one of their friends who has a house like that and how it's stressful to be there.  They said that my house was fine.  It was a good clean, like fun to come over.  They said I was ok.  

Even thought it goes against everything I stand for, I made myself leave this flower on the table.  It was droopy last night and barely living today.  You know what, one of the girls commented on how pretty it was.  Go figure.

However, this morning, a few of the kids from the Belize trip came over for breakfast.  I might have done a little extra cleaning, but I tried not to go overboard.  There were things left undone that I don't normally leave undone when I'm having people over for a meal.  (It's all part of the new Belize Meg where I focus on the important things and don't sweat the little things.)  Some of the kids hadn't been here before, so they wanted to look around.  They did.  One boy said that my house was a "brick and mortar house for a good pinterest account."  I laughed because I told him I knew there was a compliment in there, but I think it's covered up with a little sarcasm.  It's ok, I can do sarcasm.

Then, they asked if they could go upstairs.  Our upstairs is where my brothers stay when they need a place to crash.  They store some stuff up there and so do we.  There is nothing cute about it.  They all went up there, and that same boy said, "I'm glad I saw this-I know you're a normal person now." I freaked out a little and they assured me that my house was great and it showed signs of life and it's ok.  But, I have to wonder, is it too clean?  Not just that, but am I focusing too much attention on cleaning and less on living?  

This is the thing: if I really think that people are more important than objects, does it reflect my lifestyle?  These teenagers-they are pretty cool.  One thing that we noticed on the trip is that they just see people.  They were put in several different circumstances and never missed a beat.  They went with the flow.  They enjoyed everything.  They were focused on people way more than anything else.  In a world that is very critical of teenagers, I'm not.  They're cool, they're fun, and they know what's important.  

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post. We are nearing the teenage years so thank you,