Nels + Ramen

Our children wake in the afternoon and stagger downstairs; Ralph’s made a huge pot of creamy miso ramen loaded with baby bok choy and carrots. Our sons sit down and eat, famished: like something is taking them over. They seem dazed, almost overwhelmed, until they get that hot food in their bellies. (Photo – as are all photos of my children – taken and posted with permission.)

I have decided a huge amount of conventional wisdom about teenagers is utter bollocks, as they say. Teenagers are not ridiculous or less-than; they do not deserve our smart-aleck comments and eye rolls. They do not warrant our smug and authoritarian parenting. My teens are not rude, entitled, “crazy”, “hormonal”, non-sensical. They are not especially loud or dirty. They are exactly as I would have predicted from my incredibly extensive and intensive experience unschooling them through childhood: they are whip-smart, kind, funny, sensitive, and joyful. They are genuinely interested in other people, not just themselves. They are interested in the whole of life, not just work. They do not have the martyred energy, the passive aggressive forms of communication, the entitled and inflexible attitudes of adults. They respond to criticism or correction with open-mindedness and they change their behaviors if their behaviors are deemed problematic.

If the citizens of this country were anything like my teenagers, the world would be a much better place.

People regularly ask me how I did it, how my children are so amazing. Either the children are special or I am (neither, really). Also like I’ve been writing in detail how I’ve done it, here on this blog, for about fifteen years straight. So.