Rousting Teens: The Impossible Vocation

2010 July 15 Phx pool 017After another morning of trying to roust Ben out of bed, I wrote most of this in the shower. The rest was written on the train into Boston this morning for a meeting at the diocese. I have to believe this just might resonate with some parents of teenagers. And if not? Well, maybe at least Bob Dylan will sue me.

There’s a classic book on the priesthood called The Impossible Vocation. You can argue with that premise but, in any case, I think getting teens out of bed before 7:00 am qualifies.

It Will Never End

How many times must a man go in
to wake up his own teenage son?
How many times must I shake that poor boy
ahead of the bright rising sun?
How many times must I go up the stairs
threatening to take his iPhone?
The answer my friend, it will never end.
The answer, it will never end.

How many times must we have this same fight
when that alarm clock goes off?
How many ways can I badger you, son
until you get out of that bed
How many times will you ignore my requests
to open your eyes and wake up?
The answer my friend, it will never end.
The answer, it will never end.

How many times must you be late for school
because you can’t find your math book?
How many times must I tell you to make
your lunch before going to sleep?
How many times must you lose your left shoe
before you’re sent in wearing socks
The answer my friend, it will never end.
The answer, it will never end.

How many times must I have deja vu
of arguments I had with my dad?
How many times must the teenager cry
“Why can’t they just start school at two?!
How many years ’til the tables are turned
and he has a teen all his own?
The answer my friend, it will never end.
The answer, it will never end.


5 Comments on “Rousting Teens: The Impossible Vocation”

  1. Relling says:

    Welcome to the club. It makes the whole going to college piece look like a big present. You miss them when they are gone, but you are not responsible for getting them to school. And, no one will call you about homework undone, missing,etc….. Let me hasten to add that both our sons are wonderful kids and good company: they just weren’t very interested in high school.

  2. Heidi Shott says:

    It does end. They leave and you are left baffled by the suddenness of it and with way too much food leftover after dinner. And each morning you find yourself compelled to stop in their rooms on your way to the shower to press a hand on an empty bed and pray, “Lord, help this boy to not do anything too stupid today,” or “Dear God, help him get his s*%t together before finals.” And everything is all manner of well.

  3. Lois Schenck says:

    It must be that you speak from experience yourself yes? Love the song
    Mom

  4. My husband and I feel your pain. We successfully roust our 15 year old son by singing a modified version of the hymn “I Am the Bread of Life” :
    (Henry makes the verse part up off the cuff, depending on what’s for breakfast or what’s in the day’s plan) such as
    If you don’t come downstairs
    You will not get your oatmeal
    And you will be late to school
    And you will get detention
    Yes, you will get detention.

    (And then I join in, in very loud harmony):
    And I will wake you up
    And I will wake you up
    And I will waaaake you up in this fine school day!

    I think you are correct: there is no end (until they leave home).

  5. Jay Croft says:

    Fear not! It only lasts seven years.


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