We never told her "no"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Since my last post of Halloween, I have pondered numerous times over many subjects. The election. The economy. The current happenings of the world. All of these are worthy topics and have certainly captivated my thoughts and feelings day in and day out. Yet time and time again I can't shake a recent conversation and its lasting impact on me.

About a week ago I took my oldest out for a "smoothie date". My purpose was to share with him a female perspective about the current behavior of his opposite sex classmates. He's had the "talk" with my husband and I've somewhat kept myself out of the discussions. I didn't think I had much widsom to offer him as I would if I was raising a daughter. I had been warned by other mothers about the aggressive nature of girls these days. I shrugged it off until the second week of September and the young ladies began calling with every excuse in the world to talk to my son. One evening when a group of them called at 10 p.m. on a Friday night I thought it was cute as I remember doing the same thing with my pre-teen girlfriends. As I reminisced about my behavior 20 some years ago I thought it might be a good idea to share with him what is probably going on in the head of a 12 year old girl. When the phone calls continued for the next week, day after day, I knewit was time to address the issue.

I beseeched God for the words of wisdom that I hoped would have a lasting impact on my son. I started the conversation with telling him about some of the unsavory choices I made as I was developing into a young woman. I explained to him that at the very heart of a girl are deep haunting questions: "Am I lovely? Am I pretty? Do you delight in me?" The first place she goes to have these questions answered is her father. If he is absent or emotionally unavailable, as mine was, she will then turn to boys in her search. I told her how I did that and my suspicion is that these girls (two of whom don't know their fathers) are doing the same. They are looking for love in all the wrong places. Combine that with a culture that tells them to "go for whatever they want" and you have quickly maturing young ladies aggressively pursuing slowly maturing young men.

I told him that although his dad and I would guide him through life with our values and convictions and God's word, ultimately the choice would be his. He could decide to be honorable and respect his female peers or choose what the world says is his for the taking--especially when some gals will be so freely offering it to him.

Just as I finished my "speech" a fellow dad walked in with his son. He walked over to our table and spilled his heart out right there. He openly shared with me the choices his once honor roll student/top athlete daughter was making as of late which had forced he and his wife to remove her from their home at the tender age of 17. Just a year ago I had talked to this couple and their beautiful, talented daughter had it all going for her. She was on her way to a scholarship for both academics and sports. They were beaming with pride as they updated me on their family. What could have possibly caused those plans to go south in twelve short months??? A bad choice involving the very subject my son and I were discussing. A choice that has ramifications to be felt for years to come.

This poor guy's heart was breaking as he kept repeating, "She was my baby girl". His timing couldn't have been more perfect and I was thankful he chose to be brutally honest in my son's presence. It made for further discussion in the following days and gave him a tangible picture of how one choice can change your entire future. As we said good bye the last thing this dad said to me was: " You know what we did wrong? We never told her 'no'."

Isn't that the common denominator in most heartache? An unwillingness to say 'no.' To ourselves and to others. I think about how often I give in just because it's easier. Because I don't feel like stopping what I'm doing to explain my answers. Because I'm too tired. Because I don't want to disappoint my child. I will take this man's words to heart as I navigate the rough waters ahead. I pray that God's grace and compassion will heal this family as I know He does not waste pain on any of us.

1 Comment »

One Response to “We never told her "no"”

Andrea said...

Wow, I can't believe my little cousin is old enough to have to deal with this sort of stuff! Props to you Dana for being real and honest with him.

Love you!