Friday, May 4, 2012

Do you remember your prom date?

How can I keep my kids from harm, heartache, abduction, broken bones, acne, eating disorders, or becoming an Illini fan? These are the worries that keep me up at night. A lot of my mommy-ing energy is spent worrying about such things and reflecting on sad stories of tragedy in the lives of teens. I look at my beautiful children and wonder "what heartache will you endure?" And the news has no shortage of such stories...add in some of my favorite detective type shows and books and the fears can be overwhelming.

But my energies would be better spent focusing on learning from parents and teachers on how to help my children develop into people of character...caring, independent, other-centered, creative, confident, secure, and Hawkeye fans.

Enter the story out of (the best) high school: Kingsley-Pierson. Senior Rachel Bird took a cutout Tim Tebow to prom. The most complete account I've seen is from the Sioux City journal (link below), but the story has also been picked up by ESPN, People, CBS, and lots of other places. I'll let the journalistic professionals report on the story through the links below.,,20592519,00.html#news

To me the great part of the story is not that she took Tim Tebow or even thought of asking him (ever since Marsha Brady asked Davy Jones back in the day, many celebrities get prom invites every year.) The great part of the story is some of the things the story reveals about Rachel's character, which makes me wonder "how can I plant some of the same seeds in my daughter?" Specifically:

Rachel's creativity. When I lacked a date my junior year I never thought of taking a cutout. And my date my senior year was much like a cardboard cutout: silent, non-moving, one dimensional.

Rachel's confidence. Even if many of us were creative enough to make a cardboard cutout, many of us wouldn't follow through with it for fear of looking "silly."

Rachel's value of a dollar. From the Sioux City Journal article, we learn that it would have been $80 to get the cutout made, and Rachel realized that was too much. Considering prom expenses seem to require a second mortgage on the home these days, I admire that she had a sense of what was "too much", and that she took full advantage of a sale:)

Rachel's choice of higher education. Not only is this wonderful young woman soon to be an alum of my own high school, but this fall she's going to be a freshman at Northwestern College in Iowa.

I don't want to put Rachel on a pedestal. I know there are quite a few teens out there that even though they haven't grabbed the national spotlight, they have strong character qualities that I would like see in my own kids. And I need to spend more of my time focusing on those things rather than worrying about tragedy. I need to learn from parents and teachers on how to raise my children with to have such qualities. Not to be a cardboard cutout of Rachel, but to be people of character. I welcome any advice...and I need to focus on the successes and not the tragedies.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things". -Philippians 4:8

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