Another teenage girl ran away from home (read about it here). This issue is hardly new. It happens all the time, all over the world. Whether they run away for the right reasons, that’s another story.
When I read about their stories, I tried to recall what I was like at their age. Rebellious, kept things to myself, hated life and everything in it, thought that everyone conspired against me.. bla bla bla. But one thing for sure, I never thought of running away from home. Why?
Because at the tender age of 13, the age when all sorts of teenage hormones running roller-coaster in my head, my dad handed to me my international passport. Yes, he trusted me to keep my own passport. His message was simple, “This is your passport. Go ahead and run away from home, even from the country of you want to. Just remember, all it takes is one phone call to the embassy and I will know where you are.”
Notice that there’s not a single word of “DON’T” or “NO” in the sentence? Yes, he didn’t use any of those words, because those are the words teenagers hate so much. Don’t hang out after school, no loud music in the house, don’t be friends with that kid, no internet before schoolwork etc. The funny thing is, before they tell you “don’t” or “no”, you don’t feel like doing it. But the moment they say those words, it’s the only thing that you wish to do!
There’s a beautiful song by Soul Asylum entitled “Runaway Train” on this issue. The chorus goes like this:
Runaway train never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I'm neither here no there
These words speak volumes about the inner voice of a teenage runaway.
I guess the magic phrase is REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY. Tell them they can do it, but there will be consequences. Let them decide whether they are brave enough to face it. I bet most of the time they don’t.
My dad is a smart man indeed.