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.
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.