No “Girls Gone Wild” in Our House!

Nancy Hall (1951-2013)
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Each year, when graduation time rolls around, I think back to my graduation night at a high school in Florida. It was customary for many of the graduates to take off to the beach after the ceremony, and spend the entire night doing whatever the young, immature high school graduates wanted to do. Of course, it was not a chaperoned event. Thankfully, I had parents who made the tough decisions that were not always popular with me, or with my friends. They refused to allow me to participate in this unsupervised party. Instead, I spent my graduation evening at a local restaurant, eating ice cream sundaes with my parents and a few other friends.

The following Monday evening, when my father returned home from work, we all sat down to dinner. He began to sadly explain that one of his coworkers had a very unpleasant weekend. One of my classmates had been arrested, along with about 30 other graduates, and they had all been charged with disorderly conduct. My dad’s coworker had to go to Daytona Beach to bail his daughter out of jail. She now had a “record” that would follow her for the rest of her life. Hearing this, I was grateful that my parents did not allow any “Girls Gone Wild” in our house.

Being a mother can be an extremely challenging job. When faced with making the “tough” decisions, it can be very tempting to cave in to a child’s wishes. Every mother desires what is best for her children, and no mother enjoys having her sons and daughters accuse her of ruining their fun or being unreasonably controlling or strict.

We live in a society that has drifted toward permissive behavior and has taught children disrespect for parents and other authority figures. Some mothers are even very reluctant to discipline their own children. As a result, children are often left to make their own decisions in situations for which they simply are not prepared.

Peer pressure from permissive mothers may even prod you to second guess your decisions. When my daughter was in the fourth grade, the parents of all her classmates signed a petition to have her teacher fired for daring to give homework in a school district that put its emphasis far more on football than on academics. My husband and I, however, supported the teacher. This brought some unpleasant reactions toward us, and some people treated our daughter unkindly as a result. But we learned valuable lessons. Our daughter gained greater respect for authority, and realized that taking a stand for what is right is not always easy.

Before I graduated from nursing school, my final class reminded me of my high school graduation night many years earlier. The professor passed out a form we had to complete to sit for the final state nursing exam. One question was, “Have you ever been arrested for anything other than a minor traffic violation?” If your answer was “yes,” a further investigation was required before you could take the exam. At that moment, I was again reminded of the good my parents had done me by making some tough—and not always popular—choices for me, when I was not yet qualified to make them for myself.

Commencement may be the “first day of the rest of their life” for your children—but their preparation for success begins long before that, while you as their mother shape and mold them from birth.

Today, it is rare to see mothers (or fathers) who are teaching their children strong values, helping them understand the importance of proper ethics, guiding them to set worthy goals and encouraging them to follow through and achieve those goals. But it is well worth it, especially when your grown child returns, one day, and sincerely expresses appreciation for all those times when you held firm to what you knew was right, and made the tough decisions that helped to prepare them for success. To learn more about parenting, please read our booklet, Successful Parenting: God’s Way—it is full of practical tips and biblical advice that will help you as a mother.

  Originally Published: 30th May 2012