An Open Letter to The People Who Were Jerks to My Kid: You’re Welcome

You know what might be the saddest part of my day yesterday? When my 15 year old son came back from trick or treating in our neighborhood and said people were mean to him. Adults were mean to him. They didn’t understand why he would be trick or treating. They didn’t believe him when he said he was 15. They said, “Why are you even out here. Your costume is terrible.” They told him this isn’t for him. img_3938

He was too polite to answer. So, I will.

Dear Generation Who Doesn’t At All Get Teenagers,

You are the problem. You are living in a world you can’t even understand. And it isn’t because this new generation is confusing. It’s because you speak out of both sides of your mouth. You say things like, “These kids are amounting to nothing. They don’t work. They don’t contribute. They are a bunch of thugs and lazy at that.”

You complain that the children and college students currently in existence are amounting to nothing and up to no good. You gripe and moan about how scared you are for the day they take over and run this country. And yet. You take a night that is supposed to be fun and family and creative, and you shut them down. img_3951

I am not sorry. I am not sorry that I have raised 5 kids who choose playing dress up well into their teen years. I am not sorry that I have raised teens who would rather spend the evening with their ten and eleven year old siblings and their three year old neighbor. I am not sorry that they say, “Thank you,” before ever being prompted. They won’t even walk in your grass, because I’ve raised them to be respectful of other people’s property.

I am not sorry they choose a huge squad of teenagers to spend this night with (some college aged, some high schoolers) doing things like throwing back hot apple cider and taking endless photos of each other. I am certainly not sorry that this same bunch of kids would rather settle around my campfire eating homemade chili with their friends than get wasted at a frat party, which I am sure many of them were invited to.

I am not sorry for any of that. I am sorry for you. That you are too narrow minded to see that you are breaking kids down with your ridiculous decisions about something so insignificant as trick or treating. You’ve created an impossible bar because you want our kids to make better choices and value what matters, and when they do, you corner them on your porch and threaten them to get off your property. Really?

img_3934You aren’t the kind of people who are making the world a better place by withholding your dime store candies. My son is making this world a better place. Would it have changed your view of him if you knew he just finished a week long mission trip in our city-doing outreach to the homeless, cleaning up local schools, and walking your very streets cleaning up garbage without an ask or thank you?

Maybe this group would have passed your unspoken test if you knew each of these kids seriously value their education. They work multiple jobs-some without pay- while going to school full-time. Would that help you? Maybe but I doubt it. And none of it really matters, I suppose. Because you will not likely change. But that’s ok. I am not raising you. But you are welcome that I am the one raising these kids.

We won’t forget you. You have created a learning opportunity so my kids can see how to handle unreasonable adults. How to be kind in the face of a jerk. How to choose manners over impressing their friends, no matter how rude of a person they meet.

Thanks for everything,

Shontell Brewer

11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to The People Who Were Jerks to My Kid: You’re Welcome”

  1. LOVE this!!! It brought a whole new perspective to a sometimes overlooked topic. I’m glad I read this. I was alone with the girls in the house this Halloween (Matt is away) and I had a moment of nervousness as a group of teens walked towards my house ready to trick or treat and they were laughing as they got to my driveway I found myself thinking “oh man they are totally going to frighten the girls with those costumes” as soon as I opened the door and they said “trick or treat” my unicorn and butterfly jumped out and screamed “TRICK SHOW US A TRICK!”
    They all did. 😂 Highlight of my night and left me feeling disappointed in myself for judging.
    I needed this. I will have teens one day and I hope understanding comes… can I have that “book on parenting” please? 😂

  2. I LOVE this story! It is SO true to the type of adults we live in. This was well said! There are way to many adults like this which is sad

  3. I found myself struggling this year with the concept of an older child in my family trick or treating. Thank you for changing my mindset! I agree with you in the many things you said about what is so wrong with kids being a part of a night for kids, and enjoying a family event. Bravo to you, I appreciate your parenting wisdom! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Well – I am the grandmother to these children — who were treated so rudely. I am also probably around your age, but unlike you I like to think of myself as young at heart and love, love, love, seeing young people, especially my grandchildren remain young at heart. Googles definition of “Young at Heart” is:
    – young at heart. Having a youthful outlook, especially in spite of one’s age. For example, She loves carnivals and fairs; she’s a grandmother but she’s young at heart. Just because a person ages, does not mean that they need to become cynical — I have a sneaking suspicion people who remain “young at heart” live longer and more peaceful lives – because they get what is important, what really matters, and that is how we love, encourage, and cheer on those around us. The youth of today need our encouragement, not our skepticism,

  5. I’m so sorry people were mean to your kids. My mom always used to say, “if they took the time to dress up in a costume, the least we can do is give them a damn piece of candy, no matter how old they are”. My husband & I just bought our first home & I was antsy all day at work to get home to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I was surprised at how many were teens, but you know what? Every last one of them was polite, in costume, and looked as happy and excited as the little ones.

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