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Response: An Open Letter to Teens

March 29, 2000

Dear Dr. Bellah,

My name is Rachael and I'm a 14 year old going through the things you said in this letter. My mom turned 40 on the turn on the milennium and my father is 42. About a year ago I began to feel locked up and under strict judgement and rule. My father had been taking a medicine for his migraines that made him very unpleasant to be around. He argued about everything and I didn't start to notice it until after 3 years of living with it. My mom felt the same way. I felt as though I wanted to leave and get out and live a life since there, I felt as a prisoner, locked up and bored. I want to learn and grow and find out why God has me here. I couldn't do that locked up. My dad didn't trust me either. I hadn't done anything to break his trust though. He wouldn't let me go out with friends that were male.

I cried to my mom telling her I wanted to run away. Soon, she started to open up to and told me that she felt the same. My mom and I had always been close. She and I are the ones that would ride the kiddie rides at Disney World while my dad and sister were brave enough for the roller-coasters. Mom and I were the quiet dorks of the family and my sister and dad were popular
throughout the town. My mom had been trying to find a place to go because she wanted a divorce from my father. She told me that she had given him 5 years to stop being a gripe. She found an apartment that we were going to move into.

The day before we had planned to move while he was out of city on business, mom felt really bad and drove down to tell him. He said that he would do whatever would make her happy. That weekend, he and his younger brother, my favourite uncle, drove us to the apartment and helped us move. I could tell my dad was very unhappy. And I didn't felt bad and knowing I didn't made me feel like a cold jerk.

After a few months of being there I had made friends at school and was doing well with grades. One afternoon I found a letter on the computer from my mom to someone. It drove a nail through my heart. She said to this man that she loved him and told him to call her while I was at school Thursday. It was dated way back before we moved out. She had been cheating on my father
and I didn't even know it. On visitng my dad one weekend I discovered that he knew as well. My mom had been to his house and had sex with him while I was at camp with my best friend and my dad was out of state. I felt disgusted. I thought my mom was the right one for leaving because of his attitude towards us. But when I found this out I was dumbfounded and in shock.

Later, my mom, being the respectable person she is, finally told my dad and apologized to him. He forgave her. Also, my mom said that she called off the relationship with the other man. I somehow, after long nights of prayer and crying, found it in my heart to forgive her. Because I knew God had. Now, we've been living apart from my dad for 9 months now and the divorce is
final. On my mom's 40th birthday she went to a party at a local arcade and restaurant with a man. I met him  the next few day. The first time I spent the day with them he proved that he wasn't here to hurt us or ruin my parent's former relationship. On January 1st, he paid for me to be able to fly a small plane with the help of a pilot. I never knew how much I loved flying. I had only riden in a plane on one round-trip and had a lot of fun. The feeling is wonderful and I have the mind that loves learning about
aerodynamics and Bernoulli's Principle. Since then, I've flown three times. I have a lesson each month. Soon I will begin flying glider planes and get my license. You can receive it when you're 14 and a pilot's license when you're 15, if you have the glider first. Otherwise you must be 16. I love flying and he also takes me rock-climbing and my mom belays me. My mom is learning how to SCUBA dive and how to skydive. She's in both schools as well as data entry for the place she skydives at. The man also skydives and he does camera work filming the groups as they do their formations during freefall. I love the way there are people out there from age 18 to 80 that skydive. It's a wonderful outlet for mid-aged adults. My mom totally changed after her first
skydive. She had a natural adrenaline high for 5 hours. All the people there are very nice and respect us. The guys out there in their 20's treat me like a sister their age. They don't treat me like a little girl. I love the way these people are and I think it's all because of skydiving. Some people think that you can die from it. That only happens to about .01% of skydivers.  Out of all the landings I've seen there's only been one bad smack and bounce and the guy did that on purpose for the rush. I agree he was dumb for doing it but I guess that's what floats his boat. The most recent bad accident there was a landing on a deck and it broke a few bones and splattered blood all over the deck but he's walking and talking fine now.

I've been through a lot of tough times lately, as my mom and dad have too. Please pray for my dad. He still feels like he's "worthless and dumb". He always talks about my mom and when it's bad it makes me angry and when it's good it makes me sad. I pray that he can get over her and move on. Right now he's dating a lady he went to highschool with. But, I still think that he
loves mom. I pray that he would get over her and move on because with him still ingering to the past I get stuck in the middle or stuff that isn't even my business, like the affair. And even though he's made me cry so many times I don't want him to hurt. I cried myself to sleep many long nights and prayed for hours and hours that in the end everything would be happy. My mom and I
are now happy. But my dad still hangs on. Please pray for him that he can be happy and find someone. He said he hates being single, so I pray that he gets someone steady to date. He may think I don't love him but I do, even though sometimes I don't act like it. He's just hurt me so many times that I feel cold towards him although I don't want to be cold. :( He needs happiness and
I ask you to pray for it.

In Christ's wonderful Name,
a teen with mid-aged parents.



I will pray for your dad, and for you; you are going through things one shouldn't have to endure at your age. Thanks for writing.


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