Me – Hey mate My Son – I’ve been in an accident. Me – Are you ok? My Son – I think so. The guy ran a red light and t-boned me big time. He was flying. The police, ambo and fire are here. Me – ’m on my way. Me & hubby – Drop and drive. Stress. Worry. Fear. Hope. Repeat.
Seeing this unfold and in hearing a teenager’s reflection following such an event reminded me of the various ways young people respond and react to trauma. In observing him, these points stood out for me….. 1. He was concerned for and highly aware of the impact of the others guy’s big mistake and the likely consequences of his actions. Speaking of the cost, legal ramifications and his state of mind. Our teenagers can really be the most empathetic and caring people even in the most stressful situations.
2. He wanted to connect with his mates. Having his mates call him was so important… for teenagers especially, knowing they belong to a group and someone other than their family cares a lot about them … means the world. It reaffirms their place in the world. It’s important. It’s identity forming. Our teenagers are constantly seeking this sense of belonging in many facets of their lives.
3. He had a massive ‘fragility of life’ slap, as the Police Officer said… ‘a few seconds or centimetres either way could have been a different story. Mate, go get a lotto ticket.’He heard that loud and clear, you could see it in his eyes. Our teenagers don’t know what they don’t know until they realise they don’t know it! For parents, that can be hard to swallow. Very hard.
4. He talked of sliding doors. If the lady in the tiny blue fiesta carrying a passenger hadn’t slipped in next to me in the line at the lights, she would have taken the hit. She would have been absolutely gone. It was lucky I was in front of her. Conscious and unconscious decisions lead us on such differing pathways. Sometime its juts right place, wrong place, right time, wrong time. Our Teenagers have the capacity to switch sides, see the world from different perspectives and realise the power of luck and good fortune combined.
5. He asked if I was ok. Bless him. To have a single child is to have every ounce of love and hope bundled in one incredible dream. He gets this. I’m grateful he gets it. Teenagers know how special they are, how loved they are, although they may not always show it.
That was yesterday. Today is a new day. He was lucky. We are lucky. Yes, we’re buying a lotto ticket!! You bet we are!! Although, I must say… I’ve already had my quota of luck!
Giving teens permission to sit with their truths and build their emotional vocabulary is priceless in terms of their mental and emotional awareness and inner strength, now and in their future. ROC and RISE book shares tools which can gently guide teens towards truths that help them stay ROC solid.