There’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently in American teens. While most pleasantly return home each night after their search for identity and comfort to parents who care and want them at home, there’s a segment of society who have no place to go. There’s a house where they receive their mail, their parent’s provide them a room and sometimes food, but there’s no home life in that house.
A few weeks ago, I handed a young man who is staying with us a key to the front door and he stood there staring at it for a little while, didn’t say a thing. Then he said, “You’re trusting me with a key?”
I wasn’t sure I heard what I thought, then I looked back over previous conversations with him and thought about what he’d said. If he was out after curfew, he wasn’t allowed in. He had to sleep over at a friend’s house, or on rare occasions his parents had left the back door open for expected nights out. He’d indicated that he had actually stayed in the driveway on some occasions, when he came in too late to get inside.
He spoke fairly well of his father, mentioning that he was hard, had been in the military and had high expectations of his children. This young man appeared normal in most instances, but occasionally I’d noticed a deep inner sadness. His self esteem is lower than normal and definitely not up to his current position in life. His ambition is low and unsettled. He isn’t secure in relationships and lacks necessary self esteem to succeed in life.
Our teens are desparate, searching for a home. In this young man’s case, he thinks he’s comfortable and has found a home, but he isn’t taking the steps necessary to maintain it. Will he be in that position next year? Perhaps not. His time is running out. He’s no longer a child, and yet… He desires to be treated as a child, snug and secure in his environment. The problem is… He’s an adult and should be working to create his environment.
How will our children learn to be responsible adults with loving cozy homes, if their home life is less than comfortable and cozy? If they have no memories of parents providing comfort for them, how will they know to provide for their own families? Our children are searching for home. Will they find it in time?