Recently Danny and I were watching the evening news when the subject of the end of the high school year proms was introduced. The sound bite just before breaking for commercial was enough to keep me hanging on for the whole story, always their strategy. "Adding to the already exorbitant expense from the dress to the coiffure to the shoes and the appointment with the make-up artist and the manicure and the pedicure and the......... , see why some parents are spending an extra $1300.00 this year, when we come back." Wow, while I waited for the seemingly endless commercial about the side effects of cholesterol medicine, I thought to myself what could be driving up the cost of the prom date? Could it be the limousine and the fine dining and maybe the swanky motel where the dance would be? I just couldn't imagine. What? Pray tell!
Are you ready for this? Botox injections! Yes, you read it right, you did. My husband who had been immersed in a checker game with some guy from China, had not been paying much attention to the news coverage but he looked up and asked "Who is getting Botox injections, Honey?" (I started to reply "not me, Darling, I had skin cancer on my nose once and I still cry when I feel that syringe going into a bony nose with no fat to help absorb the impact.") "High school girls going to the prom, Dear." "Aren't those shots for wrinkles, Deborah?" "Yes, Dan, haven't you noticed lately how many 16-18 year old girls are developing all those crow's feet, fine lines, and wrinkles? I mean, it is really sad, isn't it?" The young girl being interviewed, a beautiful seventeen year old, was asked how her parents felt about it to which she replied- "Well, my Dad struggled because he is so protective of me but he finally gave in because he understands that this is my last prom and I totally want to look the best that I have ever looked."
One responder to the TV station poll suggested that any doctor who does elective plastic surgery on a teen should have his license revoked. Well, people, many and maybe most doctors are concerned about the bottom line which is money so maybe the blame, if there is blame to be had, should lie with the people who are forking out the money because it seems more and more parents are having a difficult time with the word- "no." It is a simple two lettered word that even babies learn very quickly so the enunciation isn't really a problem. I remember that around maybe 9 months that Mark and Amy said it rather forcefully at bedtime until they learned that we could say it but they, not so much to us. Since I am bloviating today, let me share a cute joke that I heard lately concerning a child in a doctor's office about to receive an injection and he was dancing around and yelling "no." His mother rebuked him and said- "Honey, that isn't polite" and his response in the same volume was "no, thank you, no, thank you, no thank you." :) :) :)
Now, let me assure you that I feel for kids who are raised in a rigid, frowned upon everything home where everything fun is taboo. I believe that where "yes" is appropriate, it should be employed as much as possible but my subject today is the extreme opposite of that, the permissive parent who is afraid to say "no" to anything. Many years ago, I knew of a woman who kept an extra gallon of paint on hand because her precocious 2-3 yr. old delighted in expressing his artistic creativity and his favorite canvas was the walls of a dining room in a spacious, magnificent house. His mother, having a degree in Psychology remarked that she didn't want to "squash" his creative abilities. (My husband assured me that Mark and Amy would have something else "squashed" if they persisted drawing on walls after the first warning.) Now I always thought that it would be less expensive to buy five or six of those huge Crayola marking pads than expensive paint and just let that kid create until he was happy but I guess that was just me. Let me suggest that parents can't or won't say "no" these days because somehow we have bought into the erroneous notion that our first aim is that our kids like us, that they think we are "cool" and we won't them to be our friends. Now, I know that as a kid, I thought my parents were too hard sometimes but as I matured, I realized that to be a balanced citizen of society, there has to be some "yeas" and some "nays." When some of these kids meet up with the law later in life, they are appalled that they don't really care about their inner needs and their self esteem. They just aren't as "cute" as Mommy and Daddy told them.
Amy and and I discussed the Botox report and she made what I thought to be a brilliant observation, actually two. She wondered how many girls lay on that table as that dreaded needle came for their forehead and wished that parental authority had overruled peer pressure. And she said that parents should have looked at them when first approached about the procedure and assured them that they were beautiful just as they were. She and I discussed, her being a Mom of a little girl, of how the inordinate obsession with physical appearance is very disturbing to us today and how she can raise that precious granddaughter of mine to realize her worth is not about how she looks or how pencil thin she is. Character should be our objective, should it not? Well, that is another thought for another day but today, I want to encourage you parents that you are wiser and have much more experience and at times, the best thing that precious one underfoot today can hear is the word "no." Our Heavenly Father Who parents perfectly says it to me when it's for my good and His glory and yes, at times, I don't understand but I trust His love and His wisdom and His perfect plan. "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Cor. 12:9-10. I know this present church culture thinks that He doesn't deny anything because "After all, He just wants us to be happy and paint on whatever wall we choose because we are free spirits trying to express ourselves and sing our own song and He totally understands that."
No, He isn't as interested in my happiness as He is my holiness. He cares more about my being Christlike that He does about my creativity. My song from my heart today is about Him and not about me but a child who is never denied anything tends to live a narcissistic life. Danny and I were just discussing recently the events lately where we see young people being attacked and people are spectators, actually, reveling in the fights instead of becoming involved and helping. It's a sad world when it is just all about us and that may come from children who have been permitted to do whatsoever they please. I close, I didn't want to write this one in particular but every morning for a few mornings, the thoughts were cogitating in my head so there it is. I hope you will think about it!