21 June 2010

A Smokin' Post.

Nameless Teen is upset because I won't let him sit in the back with the other teens in church. Unfortunately, he likes to wait until juuust before the quiet "worshipful" songs to slip out on the other side of the aisle to make his move away from the family. ONE and only one time in the past, he sat next to a very *ahem* developed young woman during services and her friend (Mrs. C does not notice these things ordinarily, but this was an UNUSUALLY prominent feature on the young woman... and quite um, accented by her clothing/lack thereof).

There would be NO WAY for me to pull him away from these people without getting up and bumping into everyone while they are intensely quiet and worshiping... or without calling attention to myself during the prayer time in which Pastor prays that we focus only on God etc. etc. and the Holy Spirit moves, etc.

I'm thinking my son is focusing on something that shouldn't be out for public display, and I'm helping God out by getting his eyeballs off her boobies. I'm annoyed at them both, but I can only chastise my own child. The other kid is a "visitor," which in church parlance means, "able to wear practically nothing/ say practically anything, and behave in practically any fashion and no one is allowed to say anything lest she feel she is unloved here in God's House and an elder or someone important gets mad at YOU for causing embarrassment." Arg.

Later on, wouldn't you know, the rumours about Nameless get out. And they're told by the young lady he sat next to in church. See, her best friend was Q's "girlfriend for a day." Apparently if you are a "girlfriend for a day," that makes whatever happens on that day respectable. Because you aren't some strumpet. You're his *girlfriend.* On that day.

So.

The THIRTEEN YEAR OLD young lady runs away from home and her parents catch her. Where was she? She told them she was with Nameless, and the parents forbid her to come to church, ever again. That Nameless is sure corrupting their little girl.

I happen to know that Nameless was actually somewhere pretty far away on the night in question, so... *whew.*

But here's what I told Nameless: it's one thing to sit next to a girl in public school where it doesn't MEAN anything, and quite another to sit beside each other in CHURCH without the Youth Pastor in the same row. The presence of the Youth Pastor in the same row would supernaturally make it ok with me.

I don't know why; I just feel that way. He thought this was incredibly funny and old-fashioned. So be it.

Truth to tell, I don't really want him hanging out with other teens without adult supervision, period. Nameless says I don't like the other kids because they smoke and/or have children of their own.

I don't know them. I am told that since *I* smoked as a teen, I ought be less judgmental.

Maybe so. (Aside: I can't tell Nameless this, but it wouldn't bug me if Other Teen hung out with these people, because their habits would NOT rub off on him. It's not as though you need to pass some huge test so that Mrs. C bestows the "Christian" label upon you... it's not my place, but it IS my place to try to turn Nameless away from the bad path he seems to be following of late...) I just told Nameless that I really don't know these kids, but am concerned that he will want to start smoking or doing God-knows-what next if he spends too much time with a peer group in which this is acceptable behaviour.

OH! He tells me. He meant to ask. Can he start smoking now? (Crap, he's serious, I'm thinking...)
He will do it way away from the house so that Elf is not bothered by the smoke (he used to have asthma). He will spend only his own money on it.

What?? He can't?? Why NOT???

A big argument ensues in which I tell him he isn't paying for family expenses and so really, this idea is out of the question. It's pretty costly to smoke.

Well, he'll get a job. As a paperboy. For a couple of hours a day after school. That will be enough money to pay his part of the mortgage, electric bill, water bill, and other assorted expenses AND he will have lots of money left over for cigarettes.

Yes... he really thinks this.

He thinks it would be a great thing for him. D just tells him no. Not happening. Nope. Go be on your own after your 18th birthday and then smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

Nameless thinks D is keeping him down. It's HIS body, and he should get to decide. It's really important to him! He wants to do this thing and you're stopping him!

Oh, well, D tells him. My house. My rules. Too bad.

I'm asking him whyyyy he wants to do this. Nameless then tries to negotiate smoking rights with me, and I had to tell him no, Father has already spoken, but I am trying to "get" why he wants to do this. After a few angry exchanges requiring him to take a time away for a bit of thought, he says that this would help calm him down and it would be a fun habit to get into because his hobby of bouncing tennis balls around when he is anxious doesn't carry over very well into adulthood.

The kid has a point. He really does. You and I both know that tennis-ball bouncing in the parking lot is weird, but smoking is not. Not fair, but there it is.

But D has made a prounouncement that anyone caught smoking will suffer SEVERE consequences. He's told me a few of these... which do fortunately fall a little short of the stretching rack and whatnot, but not by much... but I am not allowed to reveal these to Nameless because when Dad says SEVERE and has forbidden something, you're supposed to just obey him out of a sense of filial obligation and moral duty. And of course he will.

Siiiigh.

12 comments:

  1. God bless you. I think you handled it well. All I can think of is I wish that girl's parents or the parents of the people she was visiting cared enough about her to make sure she respected herself in her clothing options. That REALLY bothers me! As youth pastors we were sticklers about that sort of thing and got a lot of flack for it, but it was worth it. I mean what teenager really NEEDS to wear a low cut dress or a bikini--it's not like covering up is gonna kill them or truly stifle their self-expression. Mercy. So does the Dad forbidding it work in your house? I'm not sure that would work here. At the moment when the kids get told off by Dad they pretty much ignore him and they are only 2 and 2.9.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is just my impression here, but in spite of what things look like on the surface you are very blessed to have a teen that will hash these things out with you. Most would just go sneak off and smoke with their busty "friends". Did you ask your folks' permission before taking up smoking?!

    Maybe he just needs to debate the things with you to think through them. At least he's not hiding things. That was my specialty as a teen, and well... let's just say that nothing good ever comes out of that! At least you know where he is, and what he's struggling with. (((hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
  3. As the owner of an *ahem* well developed young lady *sigh*, I have learnt some things about the body shape & why they so often choose clothing they are falling out of. I sympathesis, really, but in public venues you just have to suck it up girl & go decently clad.Probably a good thing Nameless' young lady is not coming back to church. I think she missed the point somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  4. from my experience, i think that a parent should hold their child to a higher standard than they had for themselves. "yes, i smoked when i was younger, and i realized how stupid it was - it threatened my health and made people not want to be around it, not to mention all the second hand smoke i was sending out for little kids to kill their lungs." "yes, i had sex with your father before getting married and we were blessed with a beautiful baby...that should be a great example to you why you SHOULDn't do it - there are heavy, long term consequences, including having a child when you're not ready and forever having your partner in your life, even if your relationship doesn't work out..."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Bonnie, Dad forbidding stuff works sort of well, but not always as you can well imagine...

    LOL Yes, Sue, I had a serious conference with my mom and told her I wanted to smoke with my busty friends... seductively... *snort*

    Ganeida, I'm not sure the point was ever really made for her to "miss," though...

    Mrs. K, teens are not in any sort of spiritual authority that they need know any "dirt" on parents(real or imagined; I have only discussed my own smoking here) and frankly it's not even relevant to the conversation. Not that it didn't come out. It just isn't even relevant to the standard GOD sets for us (hope that makes sense).

    So I don't even get into what I might or might not have done as a teen with them most of the time. I actually don't have a problem with other people's teens smoking. It's not a salvation issue or a moral issue IMO. But not what I want for my children.

    But to my mind, once Dad says no, that's pretty much the end of the story, or it should be, because Dad is the head of the household.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad he was able to discuss it with you, sad that he chose smoking and that it's seen as more acceptable than bouncing a tennis ball.
    Hope that gal doesn't make a reappearance in church or town anytime soon!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah, it is pretty sad that SOCIETY sees smoking as more normal than the tennis thing... but hopefully he doesn't start smoking or things will go very badly for him. :(

    I thought the young lady was dressed inappropriately, but I was more disturbed by my son's reaction to the problem than the problem itself. If he wants to get this close to a young lady when I'm right there in church with him... well... it doesn't speak well for his self-control.

    It pains me to write that... but I would rather be honest.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good luck with that teenager... though to me he sounds decidedly NORMAL... having raised 6 teenagers in this house already!

    All I can say is: try not to put too many HUGE RULES on him, or he will just go out of his way to break them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I forgot to say: you can't wrap them in cotton wool forever sadly! The 'real' world will eventually intrude on them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I, for one, was never interested in the whole smoking scene. Girls, however, have long been fascinating [smile]. But I see the frustration of knowing someone who goes out and does destructive things to themselves and others. I guess that it is a similar feeling God has when He sees us going out and doing destructive things as well.

    Free will's a ...erm... bothersome thing, eh?

    ~Luke

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello there Friends,

    I think you did a wonderful job handling the situation. I'm praying that that girl doesn't show up again!
    Our kids are growing up so darn fast! Puberty is tough. I can see KC's agressions are being brought on by puberty. Oh how I wish they were little forever.

    KC's Mommy

    Many prayers and well wishes

    ReplyDelete
  12. Isn't it amazing that they ever make it out of teen angst and that we last until we make it to the nursing home? I thought being a teen was rough in our day, but I think it's a lot harder now. Temptation is not around the corner anymore. It's smack dab in your face!

    ReplyDelete

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)