Life is full of ups and downs, some in the literal sense. One minute you are at the top of your game, and the next minute you’ve fallen on your rear end. That’s life. What’s important is how you handle it afterwards.
I was reminded of this recently when we went on a little weekend getaway adventure in the Smoky Mountains with Andrea, our 14 year old daughter.
This is our fourth year to visit the Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival in Townsend, Tennessee. Every year, Andrea looks forward to making this fun little excursion to the Smokies to see alpacas, llamas, goats, lots of beautifully dyed fibers of all types, and to visit with some of the nicest people we have ever encountered. She loves it, and we have all begun to look forward to this time of getting away together each spring.
Andrea’s favorite hobby is spinning the fiber she gets at the show into yarn on her spinning wheel, and also by using the more portable drop spindle method when she is away from home. She has become quite skilled at making beautiful yarn, and it brings her joy and satisfaction.
After touring through all the booths at the show, she decided she had purchased enough fiber to last her until the next show in October. We left the show, and set out on a sight-seeing adventure, since there is plenty to do and see in the Smokies.
One of our first stops along the road was a beautiful, cascading waterfall area. There were a few short trails leading down to the rapids, and some rocks that were fairly easy to walk out on. We were snapping photos, climbing around, and enjoying the beautiful sunshine on the waterfalls.
I wanted to shoot a couple more photos, when Andrea decided I should get a shot of her standing in the water. I turned around to get a better footing on a rock and heard SPLASH!
As I turned back around, Andrea was emerging from the river, soaked and laughing. Her foot had slipped on a rock under the water, and she lost her balance.
My first thought and reaction was, “Oh my goodness, are you all right?” She was. My second thought was, “Uh oh. This is not going to be good.” I thought she would be pretty unhappy about having just taken a tumble in the river, and not having any dry clothes to change to in the car.
But her attitude was surprisingly upbeat. At first she said she wanted to go back to the cabin and change, but then she changed her mind. She decided she was fine, and wanted to continue sight-seeing. Her sweet dad gave her the white T shirt he was wearing under his button up shirt, so she was at least half dry.
We continued with our journey, eventually finding a 1.3 mile trail that led us to a beautiful waterfall area. I got some of our very best pictures there. Andrea amazed me with her resilience, and at how beautiful she could look after falling into a river, and then hiking UPHILL for 1.3 miles.
So what did I learn from my teenage daughter that day?
- Every situation is what we make of it. We can choose to be miserable, or we can choose to be happy. Life goes in the direction we steer it, and if she can fall into a river and not let it ruin her day, then I can certainly make the best of my little “tumbles” as well. Little things do not need to turn into big things.
- Nothing is as bad as it might seem at the moment. After doing a quick review, she decided her wet clothing was not that big of a deal, and that continuing on with our adventure was more important. That turned out to be a very good decision.
- Press forward, and enjoy the now. This is an Essentialist principal, from Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism. Enjoying the moment we are in right now with our teens is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, and yourself.
Usually, I discuss how we can help our teens. But this post was more about my teen helping me, and how yours can help you, too. We are never too old to keep learning. In fact, continued learning is essential to living a happy, fulfilling life. We can always learn more from our teens, and their amazing perspectives and experiences. I hope you are enjoying your teen’s 7 Year Adventure.
What about your experiences? Have you learned something from your teen or pre-teen lately that “wowed” you? I would love to hear about it. Please scroll down to the comment section below and tell me your story.