The Weekly Haboob
As a teenager growing up in 1970's Florida, my curfew was infamous among all who knew me.
Eight o'clock weeknights. Eleven o'clock weekends.
Although a continual source of great amusement, my gaggle of gal pals made certain I met my curfew by driving me home on time.
If late, I received no break.
Consequences-with a capitol C.
As an adult, I've often wondered if the curfew was actually for my parents' peace of mind. Once I arrived home, they could go to bed with the knowledge that everyone was under one roof, safe and sound.
All was well with the world.
Of course, as a teen, I felt humiliated.
You treat me like a baby!
Everyone else can stay out until midnight!
I never get to do anything!
I'm MOVING OUT at eighteen!
(Upon reaching the grand legal age of eighteen, my hopes were my parents had totally forgotten my intent to vacate the premises).
Thinking back, my painfully early curfew sometimes offered the girls and I the perfect reason to extract ourselves from "opportunities" that might not have been the best for us. With a shrug of the shoulders and a glance in my direction, my friends often declined whatever the invitation with, "We've got to get her home."
Sometimes-on the great occasion -by the time we screeched into my driveway-often within a minute of my certain restriction from everything considered teenage holy-my friends decided to call it a night as well.
In my community, we have recently lost five teenagers to motor vehicle accidents. Driving under the influence proved a factor in the deaths of two young ladies while careless driving took the lives of three young people racing motorcycles.
Both accidents occurred in the early morning hours.
I reacted to the untimely deaths with the same reaction as any parent. There for the grace of God go I...
But why were these kids out so late? I immediately erased the fleeting judgmental thought.
Accidents can certainly occur at any time, day or night.
Teenagers are light-years different these days. Urban, chic. Hip, if you will.
But are these physically mature young people mentally mature enough to make the best decisions when placed in adult situations?
Adults have more in common with their teens than any time in our culture. Music, fashion, technology. ..even tattoos.
Parents are as cool as their kids.
The relationships between parents and teenagers today are less "stick" and more "carrot". As a result, family ties have evolved into close knit friendships.
The setting of boundaries, however, has become a bit blurred.
Nothing is more difficult for a parent than the negotiation of a safe path for their child through the teenage years. The decisions made are individual to each family and unique to each teen.
My friends would wave good-bye as I quickly entered my family home with a worried glance at my watch.
Whew. Made curfew.
My parents greeted me. "Have a good time?"
"Great. We're heading for bed. See you in the morning."