Arguing with a Teenager

Arguing with a Teenager

Yesterday I was sitting at a red light waiting for a left turn arrow. I pulled out my phone to check the status of Emily’s arriving flight. A pimple-faced teenager pulled up next to me and honked. I looked over.

“Get off your phone!” He yelled.

“The light is red.” I said, shaking my head.

He kept yelling at me. While he was yelling his light turned green. People behind him started honking. I laughed.

“Pay attention to your own driving kid!” I yelled as he pulled away.

A few seconds later my green arrow appeared. As I was turning left a series of thoughts went through my head:

  1. Who does that punk teenager think he is talking to me that way? I’ve been driving longer than he’s been alive!
  2. He’s probably right though. That could have waited.
  3. He sure was bold calling out an adult like that. Pretty impressive. We need more bold people like him in the world. But he sure seems obnoxious and disrespectful in the way he’s doing it.

Then it hit me.

I was that teenager.

In high school I was always in trouble for calling it like I saw it. Lots of adults didn’t like me. But a few extraordinary people (including my parents) were able to look past my obnoxious behavior and see the conviction and passion that drove it.

It takes some serious skill to look past obnoxious behavior and see what is really at the heart of a person. I want to get better at developing that skill. I’m forever grateful for those who did it for me. I hope I can do the same for others.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,  but one who has insight draws them out. Pr. 20:5