Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It has BEGUN! ... Mortallll Kombaaaaat!

Remember that line from the movie Mortal Kombat? Shang Tsung said it not long before all hell broke loose on the would-be-heroes.

Now that we have a teenager living in the midst of our heroic parenting efforts, I think of this line quite, QUITE often. I've realized that Shang Tsung has moved in with us while I wasn't looking. And as a Dad I don't really compare very well to Liu Kang, the hero in Mortal Kombat.

The thing is, when I perform my "fatherly advice" attacks, generally our resident Shang sloughs it off by performing "eyeroll", using my own movements against me to leave me staggering, trying to regain balance. The frustrating thing is that he somehow manages to do all this while simultaneously playing a video game. So it doesn't even take Shang's full attention to defeat me. Oh he's good.

But age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.

If you're not up on these video game references, stick with me anyway. We'll do algebra in a bit. There is something in this post for everybody ;)

Ok, I realize that I'm not the only Dad out there that feels like he's not listened to, or getting through to his kid, from time to time. And certainly I'm not the only Dad who's even blogged about it. I follow several other Dad's blogs and read them everytime they post just to help me keep my sanity or realize that I'm not alone. Plus they are really, really funny.

Finally, I'm quite positive that I'm not the only Dad who feels as though the proverbial "window of listening" with my teenager is fast closing. I do admit that I may be the only nerd-dad on the planet who is geeky enough to compare all this to the final showdown between Liu Kang and Shang Tsung though. But I'm ok with that.

So yes Heather and I both regularly get lots of eyerolls, sighs of exasperation, tones of voice I could do without, etc etc - at our house. So I'm pretty sure the "window" if its still open at all is open only but a crack. (I NEARLY said butt-crack there ... oh come, that was funny!)

I suppose I really should go out and get some books on the subject of raising a teen. I feel ill-prepared. And for those of who you actually know me IRL, you KNOWS I likes me some preparedness. Boooooy do I!

As of right now, at times it feels as if I'm talking through that aforementioned window to my teenager, my face pressed to the edge of the opening as the window slides inexorably down ... with me speaking as fast as I can ... hoping to get my final few words in ... desperately and frantically trying to think of all the stuff I may have missed ... things I needed to say - before that window is shut ... before I'm left looking through the glass into another house and my voice becomes muffled by the barrier.

Yes there is a dark side of me, the curse that all fathers get if you will, similar to the one mothers use on their children, and it whispers ...

"when he's older he'll regret not listening now" ... and ...
"when that happens, he'll come back and want to listen to you when his kids start behaving like this".

I have to darkly chuckle as I try so very hard NOT to become good friends with this voice.

All of this then raises the question, is this something all parents go through? Are we all just so lambasted by raising teens that we get this fruity? Most likely I'm just a misfit. It's a typical tale.

But for all my weird writing above, I know in my heart of hearts everything generally works out. I do live by a motto of "I always win" ... and I do. I don't mean to sound pretentious either.

Tis a self-slogan that I use to remind me that eventually "it all works out". While things may seem confusing/frustrating at times it really will be okay in the long run. Raising kids into teens, then into men and women isn't easy. But we all have it in us to do this very thing.

And now let me try and close this circle.

Josh is growing up. I need to remember how it was, how I felt when I was that age. Yes I thought my mom and step dad were both idiots, and I thought it quite often. But I still loved them. He probably has similar feelings as I did back then.

Now I have seemingly been slingshotted around to the other side of the equation ... the parenting side. I'm seeing the same equation but from the other side of the "equals symbol". Mrs Collier, my high school algebra teacher taught me a great lesson once. I remember her exact quote.

"What thou doest to one side of the equals, thou must also doest to the other". (She didn't always talk like this but rather did this to get our attention and it stuck with me).

So now, what once worked for solving an algebraic equation, I get to apply to parenting.
Incoming supernerdiness ... beware ...
When you balance the equation x + 7 = 10, solving for x, you have to subtract 7 from both sides, coming up with x = 3. You have to do the same thing to both sides of the equation to find your answer.

(I think I actually HEAR people leaving my blog at this point, lol)

In parenting its very similar. But you now have x + teenager = adult.

Balancing THAT equation is the actual problem we all have at times. And we need to do the same things to both side of the equation to get our answer. So .... what indeed do you get when you subtract teenager from adult?

The answer is easy: experience. See? And you thought you'd never use algebra again?

So its my son's lack of experience and my abundance of it, that provides that communication gap. Its what he lacks in order to relate to me on my "level" and what I forget I have sometime and it keeps me from relating to him on his. The burden falls to me as the experienced to teach the one who isn't. So actually its all very simple. The answer usually is simple. However its the implementation that eludes me at times.
And it doesn't fix the fact that he drives me nuts by not listening :)
Someday yes, Josh and I will laugh about all this. I'll rib him for not listening "now" when we laugh about it "then". It will be fun and I do look forward to it.

Parenting. Algebra. Mortal Kombat - oh yeah, it's how we roll here at Castle Horton, in the midst of Horton Hollow.
By the way, Liu Kang did eventually kick Shang's butt.
Liu always wins.


Heather said...

OHHHHH how true that is!
I'm glad we're in this together, otherwise I'd go insane. :)

TheBakers said...

Your blog reminded me about a promise from The Lord, that I cling very tightly to. That if the fathers will turn their hearts towards their children, then He would turn the children's hearts back to them. In this promise, it helps me to do a quick check, in my case normally I have gotten too busy.

Jennifer said...

See, the evil part of me is sorta glad you guys are going through it first, so that you can babystep me through it when we start the teenage madness.