Many of you know MaryMargaret, my daughter, as the founder of Kids Are Heroes®. As you would expect I know her as much more than that. MaryMargaret enjoyed her 13th birthday last November which officially escorted her into the realm of teenagerdom. Now ever since we first took her home from the hospital (traveling in the center lane at no faster than 30mph) I have been warned about the teenage years. I will admit I have seen some changes but nothing too drastic yet. The one thing I noticed is that she likes the privacy of her room now a lot more than she used to. She was always afraid to shut her door as she felt more at ease if there was one less barrier to get to her parents’ room. Now it seems the door is always shut.
When we first designed the house we made sure there was no cable connection in her room and never wanted a computer in there either. This was of course to protect her from “vegging out” in front of the TV and doing something that might endanger her own well being on the computer. However being brought up in a tech-savvy household has done wonders for her, and with the prevalence of wireless computers we have now succumbed to the idea that she can be trusted with a computer in her room.
Still the door being closed for long periods of time was starting to irk me. What is she doing in there? Is it something I should worry about? I decided to do something revolutionary. I knocked on her door and paid her a visit.
I must give kudos to my wife Michelle for insisting MaryMargaret have a window seat in her room when we built the house. It turns out that that window seat is her favorite spot. When I entered the room MaryMargaret was reading the second “Hunger Games” book while seated on her window seat. The windows were open and a very nice breeze was passing through. She invited me to sit down and we had a long talk about how her day went. When I asked her what else she does there was no surprise in her answer. She is either instant messaging, skypeing, or sending Facebook updates to her friends while sometimes holding several conversations at once. I remember when the complaint about teenagers was that they would talk on the phone all the time monopolizing the phone line. Now it’s different. Kids are still talking to their friends but just doing it in a different way. I personally think this is a fine way to communicate as long as it augments the face-to-face interactions the kids already have. I believe this is true in MaryMargaret’s case.
So I no longer see the closed door as a menace. I see it as an opportunity. We have made my “door knocking” a regular thing and I look forward to each and every occasion.
To the cynics out there: Please spare me the doomsday prophecies. I plan to hold on to this as long as I can.