Have you ever been in your car on your way to work, singing along to all of your favorite songs on the radio, feeling like you're ready to take on the world when all of a sudden panic washes over you as you realize - gasp! - you, in all your glory, have forgotten to put on deodorant?!? You try to put it out of your mind, but as the day and its stresses wear on, so does the gradual yet potent reminder of what's missing. For many reasons, deodorant is something we all need to use daily if we want to stay fresh, confident and focused. Skip a day and life tends to get a little, well, stinky.
The same can be said for the need of having balance in our daily routines, especailly for teens. Without balance, life can go from status quo to unbearable in the blink of an eye - even with all of the tight-rope walking practice we as grown-ups have had over the years. Step into the shoes of your teen for just a minute and remember all of those extremes you had to deal with: school, sports, homework, parents' attitudes and expectations, social lives, sleep, faith, hormones, emotions, peer pressure, self-image, dating and the influence of the entertainment industry to name a few. Just reading that list is enough to make a person sweat!
According to Dictionary.com deodorant is defined as "an agent for destroying odor." Enter balance - "the deodorant of life." Once your kids know how to apply and remember to use balance, they're likely to be able to face each day with more self-confidence, make healthier choices and be less concerned with what other people are thinking (or smelling). Imagine how much more empowered your kids will be when they're able to personally experience the benefits of using the ultimate odor destroying agent: balance!
Not sure where to start? When used regularly, these four "clinically proven" tips will have your teens and your family smelling fresh in no time:
Talk it out
Take some time to get to know who your kids truly are. Find out what really kicks up their confidence and joy and let them give it a try. If it doesn't match your vision for them, talk about it. But be open and ready for them to let you know what their true desires are and make room for some healthy conversations. It might just be that they've silently been waiting for you to ask them what makes them happy but have felt as if their words would fall on deaf ears. Allow everyone in your family to speak their truth in love and with respect and watch what happens. After all, who doesn't know what it feels like to be the child that's seen and not heard? It stinks!!
Make friends with time
If you're always rushing to get from one activity to the next, there's a good chance you're going to quickly run out of balance. Once you've narrowed down activities to doing only the things that speak to your teen's heart, you'll have more room on your calendar for enjoying the things that make the whole family happy as well. That includes vacations, family activities or doing absolutely nothing at all! You'll even be able to carve out time for at least one meal a week together around the dinner table.
Without warning, your kids are going to want (and need) to start making their own choices. They need to choose not only what deodorant they think makes them smell good, but also more important things like who they hang out with and what their boundaries and standards are. When your family continually practices respect for each other, you're creating room for your teens to find and use their own voices. They can tune in to their own identities and practice the values that you've instilled in them. Ultimately, your kids will come to you for advice rather than seeking acknowledgement and "wisdom" from less healthy sources when you give them a chance.
Have you ever walked in a room and thought, "Do I smell something?" You stand there for a second sniffing, trying to see if it's just your imagination but you still aren't quite sure. Every time you walk in the room after that, the smell smacks you in the face until you can't stand it anymore. Finally you have to start digging around to locate the source. Non-verbal cues from your teens are a lot like that first whiff. No matter what's bothering them - whether it's teachers, friends, coaches, you, all of the above - if it's not uncovered, it will eventually rot. Let your teens know you're available to help them sort everything out and bring life back into balance without judgment or blame. Again, imagine how your life would be different today if you had been given that same opportunity all those years ago.
In a society driven by instant gratification and hectic lifestyles, it's a challenge to find time to drink water some days let alone implement a new operating system for an entire family. However, kids are amazing at observing and absorbing habits. When you practice living in balance and honing your own skills you'll have to spend very little time actually teaching them anything. They'll see. They'll learn it. They'll live it.