Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tom Sawyer

My oldest turned eighteen in March and graduated in May. Last week we said, "Be home at midnight. At 1:00 AM he called and asked to spend the night at a friend's house. We have always said "yes," before. But this time we had to go somewhere (that we had to be awake for) on the following day. I said, "Come home."

After he called a few more times to protest he came home and announced that he was going to go live with his friend. Julia and I did not raise our voices. We just leveled with him.

Friend's dad (divorced) takes care of friend and friend's 14 year old sister, whom my oldest likes to spend time with. I think it's dangerous for and 18 year old guy to spend time with a 14 year old girl. There is a reason they call young girls "jailbait." Now he is living in the same house with her.

Apparently the friend's father does not perceive the problems of jailbait. Nor does he seem to understand that enabling young men to be slackers is not good for them. Some adults are not quite grown.

Julia and I take this view. "You are eighteen. He can live elsewhere if you want. But we will not enable a lifestyle that is going nowhere. So, no you can't have the car. No, you can't have money for anything. We love you. We would love for you to return to your former privileges and obligations at home--each member of the family makes concessions to be able to live happily together and you will still have to make a few of those. Those concessions pale in comparison to the problems that your current sponging entails. We cannot stop you from taking a detour off the road of life. We hope you do not run off a cliff before you get back to the main road."

Perhaps eighteen is the season for such detours--this one taken at the sign that said, "to stay on the main road, sleep at home tonight." I have met people who enjoyed their detours. But I have met more who wish they had not wasted large amounts of their lives.

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