It’s when our kids begin to understand what being an adult is all about, but their childhood still lingers.
They stand with excitement looking through the doorway to a whole new world , but their view inside is still limited by their life experience. They are trying on adult things, and figuring out what it all really means. But they still have so much growing up to do.
At sixteen, everything comes in seasons and spurts, ups and downs, steps forward and some back.
Sixteen brings new independence, empowerment and insight. They have begun to settle into their own skin despite the demanding pressures of world around them and expectations of the people in it.
They have grown more mature in how they deal with drama and their own insecurities. They still struggle with uncertainties, but they are able to handle things with more acceptance and maturity than ever before. They are still figuring out who they are, but rising from their younger years comes more confidence in their abilities and a stronger sense of who they want to be.
Sixteen is freedom.
Enabled by a newly minted driver’s license, they are now driving, everywhere.
It changes everything in their lives, and ours. They can now meet up with friends, go to the movies, the mall, and drive themselves to their own practices.
But they learn early on that this new way of life comes with responsibility and rules. It means checking in regularly and asking permission if they can drive here or there every time. It means expenses like gas money and insurance and figuring out how to pay for it. It’s learning freedom comes with responsibility and costs.
Sixteen is their first real job.
They might be taking orders at the fast-food drive-through, walking around with a whistle lifeguarding or stacking shelves at the local bookstore. There will be bosses who are unrelenting, coworkers who slack, and customers who complain.
All of this will provide difficult, but much needed lessons in humility and humanity. They will realize that people are flawed and impatient, flexible and kind. There will be mistakes and failure and frustration. It all transpires through long hours and short tempers, and sacrificing fun for earning a paycheck.
Oh, but yes, Sixteen means earning their own money.
Sixteen brings paychecks and bank accounts and learning to manage their own spending and savings. It means they can pay for their own Starbucks or that cool shirt that’s on sale at their favorite store. But they realize quickly that funds from a teenage job often don’t go very far. They get a crash course in taxes and budgeting, and being broke while waiting for that next paycheck to arrive.
Sixteen is all about practicing adulting.
It’s a rollercoaster ride full of twists and turns, slow struggling jerks up and fast thrilling dives down… And although the lure of the rollercoaster all seems so fun, the harsh reality also sets in that hard work earns them the ride.
Sixteen is where the groundwork is laid for the final launch. It’s the start of life’s hard lessons, facing new fears and at times, feeling lost. But sixteen is also like leaping off the mountain top, soaring through the air and feeling the exhilaration of rushing towards the unknown at full speed.
Their wings may not be fully developed, but they are stronger than ever before. They don’t know what’s coming, and they don’t really care. At sixteen, they just want to fly…
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.