Working with People: 6 things I’ve noticed about Teenagers

July 21, 2017


Einstein said There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.  For me, working for Real Life has been a miracle.

I’ve been that adult working with teens since 2003, before I was an adult!  Running around with teens, talking with them, getting to know them, working with them for so long, I’ve noticed some things:


For every parent, grandparent, loving aunt, best friend, church volunteer, teacher or  whatever.  Thanks for loving your kids! Here are 6 things I’ve noticed about working with teenagers.



1. Middle school boys at their BEST smell like acts body spray.

2. The difference between Nobody’s coming, and EVERYBODY’s here can be one or two key kid in the entrance way at an event.

3. The best mentors lead with consistency over the long haul.  Like the perfect grass in my neighbor’s front yard: relationships take lots of cultivation over lots of time to really pop.

4. I’ve noticed: developing adolescents isn’t a churn em out kind of job.

It’s not: Make a widget, ship the widget.  Serve your client, send them on their way forever, find the next one.

Its more like … collecting…. cats.  A good mentor is kinda like a crazy cat lady (emphasis on the CRAZY), rescuing one cat at a time until she reaches capacity, then finding yet one more raggedy fluff ball that she just can’t say no to.

5. Bad news tends to happen all at once.  I mean, it’s usually one big shocking moment: a broken toe, a break up, a plane crash, a bad diagnosis, the premier of Fuller House on Netflix, what ever it may be.

BUT Good new, that comes slower.  Good news usually happens as a process: the healing of a broken collar bone, saving enough money to buy a house, finally landing that big promotion.

I’ve never seen a kid grow up in one shocking moment like some sort of train crash! They always mature in a process, as slow as a savings account.  Meant to be savored and dwelled upon.

6. Lastly I’ve noticed: It’s the little things over months on end that go the longest way with kids.  Showing up to their game or show, taking them to ice-cream, texting back at 12:30 at night….again.  Being a safe ear to vent to, a continual presence in their lives.


The best adults earn the right to be heard with consistently.

They always have room for one raggedy fluff ball.

And they savor the slow growth.

Welcome to Real Life Counseling.


We’re excited you’re willing to let the miracle of your story join the miracle that is Real Life.

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