I believe in cheeseburgers. Cheeseburgers are not the healthiest food to eat, but I’ve discovered that a cheeseburger offered at just the right moment can make a huge difference in the life of a struggling teenager.
My oldest son has just entered the difficult teenaged world. Hormones rage, voices squeak, and moods swing. As he copes with his changing body, I’m learning what it takes to parent a teenager. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for us both..
Last week he had a particularly rough day at school. By that evening, he was grumpy and depressed. Trying to distract him from his misery, I decided to take the family to a movie. As we drove into town, I realized he hadn’t eaten dinner yet (he was too busy sulking!). I told him to pick a restaurant along the way, and we would stop and get him something to eat. After much grumbling and mumbling, he chose a restaurant. Inside, when asked what he wanted to order, he said, “I’ll have the triple cheeseburger.” My jaw about hit the floor. That was a ¾ pound burger! But when I asked him if he was sure, he just gave me that look that says, “Duh, Mom!” I ordered the burger.
A few minutes later, we were all seated at a table, my oldest son eating his King Kong of a burger, and the rest of us sipping root beer floats. In what seemed to be just minutes, his burger was gone. Gone! Inhaled! And also gone was the grumpy, gloomy teenager I had brought into the restaurant. He was now happy, laughing, and no longer depressed about his day. Ahhh, the power of a cheeseburger.
As I watched my son that night, I remembered a day 20 years ago when I was his age. I had had the same kind of rough day at school, and I was an emotional mess of a teenager. I was so depressed I had decided that my life was no longer worth living. I, too, had gone to my room after school and refused to eat dinner. My wise father sensed that something was wrong. He tried to get me to talk to him, but I wouldn’t. Refusing to leave me alone, he took me to a restaurant and ordered me a cheeseburger. And somehow, with cheeseburger in hand, I opened up and talked to him. I will never forget his quiet and caring manner as he listened. He didn’t solve all of my problems that night; but by the time the cheeseburger was gone, so were some of my insecurities. And I knew one thing for sure: my father loved me.
Yes, I believe in cheeseburgers. I realize a cheeseburger-a-day is an unhealthy, unrealistic cure for teenaged blues. But I believe a cheeseburger every once in a while at just the right moment can make a difference in the life of a teenager.
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