Friday, July 21, 2017

Not-Yet's and Not-Ever's

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

My daughter has friends who are raised quite differently than she has been. Many of her friends label us as over protective because they are allowed to do things that our daughter is not. Some things are just not-yet's and others are not-ever's, at least while she lives in our home.

One not-yet is getting her driver's license. Although many of her friends have gotten or are getting their driver's permits at fifteen years old so that they can get their licenses at sixteen, my husband and I decided years ago that we would not rush into getting her license just because she legally could, although our state has a tiered system with three stages depending on age and other provisions. There are several factors that play into this:

  • Local driving is far away from Atlanta traffic, but many people here commute and by the time they drive that distance, they are short on patience and have a whole different idea of what a speed limit is other than what is posted on the signs. 
  • The Atlanta area is one of the worst in the country for teenagers causing accidents and there are several reasons for that, but probably the main reason is that they are teenagers and do not take driving as seriously as they should and easily get distracted thanks to latest in tech. 
  • Another reason is related to illegal immigrants...they are not licensed or insured so there are many stories of accidents when a number of them jump out of the vehicle and ran away from the accident and that the vehicle itself was not registered so there is no way to find them. 
  • Such events have caused steep increases in our vehicle insurance over the past few years and adding a teen driver to the policy is not something we are eager to do. 
  • Lastly, waiting until she is seventeen also means we do not have to pay for a driving course as the tiered laws requires presently. It is enough that our car insurance doubles either way!

Her friends may get the not-yet's better than our not-ever's. A seventeen year old boy with which the Princess has been friends for a few years is leaving for college at the beginning of August. He wanted to spend some time with her so he offered to pick her up to drive her to the skating rink he likes that is about a 45-minute drive away. Now we expect attractions at this age but the Princess will not ever be allowed to date and being alone with a young man in a car...that sounds like a date to me. Of course, that is never going to happen. 

We have strict rules about going out with friends and courting. We have done things with her friends that are boys, like hiked in a park or gone to a movie, but I was there with them. The Princess does not have but one good friend that is a girl and that would be because she finds most girls fickle, boy-crazy, and shallow, except for this one. 

She just does not connect with girls. Even as a young child, she liked playing with boys and doing the stuff boys were into more...and this when she would dress in a fancy dress for church and often for dinner just because! She was a tomboy and a girly-girl, depending on the setting and her mood. For a few years, when she was middle school age, I could barely get her in a dress except for recitals. Now she is swinging back to her former loves, although she does not dress for dinner, but now and then she will wear a dress or skirt to church or just because.

Anyway, when she was younger, I mostly had to worry about what she and the boys were going to dig up in the backyard or injuries from sword fighting and she has always had this fascination with all kinds of knives, like boys tend to do. Although she is aware that some of her friends are attracted to her, she rarely will talk to us about it. The bad experience with J-Void left its mark on us all, so I think that one side of her does not want to like a boy or even been liked by a boy, but the other...well, she is still a teenage girl. We see the conflict she tries to hide.

Our rules have some flexibility depending on the situation and persons involved and we do invite God's say in the matter. However, the Princess is never to get into a car alone with a boy or go off anywhere alone with a boy at any time...period! She is allowed to go with a mixed group of friends as long as there is a responsible chaperone. We, at times, will allow her to do something with a boy as long as one of her parents is with her or we really know and trust the chaperone.

We do not need to know everyone in the group, but when it comes down to a one-on-one situation, we like to meet the boy and his parents if possible, just to be sure we all are on the same page. We did not do this with J-Void because....well, they both were only fourteen at the time. From our point of view, they were too young for courtship.

Now that the Princess is sixteen (and still too young, but it is not unexpected at this age), should a boy profess his interest in her as anything more than a friend and she feel the same, we will treat it as a courting situation. We are not there yet, although we have had some boys expressing their feelings for her, she has been more careful to reciprocate since J-Void. When we think it is a mutual attraction, then we will handle it as a courtship, in that we be more involved with their time together and work on getting to know the parents also.

Although the Princess has been made aware of these rules most of her life, I think it is still difficult for her to see the pictures of the girls from her youth group in their formal dresses with their dates for homecomings and proms. One girl in particular has had the same boyfriend for over a year, yet her mother has said that she is immature for her age to me several times, so I am still wondering why she allows her to date...? Anyway, a few times the Princess has asked why she does not feel anything towards any boy other than friendship, as if she thinks she has something wrong with her. It breaks my heart that she thinks that about herself, but I just tell her it is because she has not yet met the one God has chosen for her.

I know that this may be hoping for too much, but I am still hoping that God's chosen mate for my daughter will be a man who recognizes that our strict rules are not against him but for him and that appreciates that we all worked to guard her virtue and her heart for him. That would be ideal, but I will try not to have that expectation. Still, I have heard God tell me that He has selected her husband, the one we have been praying about for all these years, and that we are going to love him. In someways I cannot wait to meet him and in others...well, that it changes so much that I am also not in a hurry to see change. I will trust God's timing.

My Lord, I look forward to my daughter coming into adulthood, but it is a bittersweet feeling. Please give us all patience and help us to really hear You as we all grow through this process.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.