I took my son into town yesterday to shop for shoes--something that has happened a lot over the last couple of years, as my 14 year old is now wearing a size 11. We found him a good looking pair of Van's skater shoes on a great sale at the very first store we went to. Mission accomplished.
On the way home, I decided to address a topic I've been mulling over quite a bit lately. I've been wanting to know about the girls in his life and I usually only get to spend time with the boys, as they are the ones who come over to hang out and spend the night. I know that he knows a lot of girls, judging by his Facebook account, and I can tell that he is the object of more than a couple of teen girl crushes. However, I don't know many of the girls, as they are either youth group kids (our church doesn't have a youth group, so he is very involved with one at another church), or 4-H kids, girls who live in the farm community near us and are friends of his friends, or girls he used to go to school with before we began to do education at home.
This group of girls is a mystery to me, and worse yet, they are all pretty--VERY pretty.
So I asked him about the girls. Tell me everything, I said. I want to know who is solid and who is flighty, who is flirty, who is funny, who you think is pretty, who has a crush on you, who you have a crush on--everything. He was a little uncomfortable at first, as I figured he would be, but he and I have a very good relationship. Plus, the drive home from town is long and Gracie, our ancient Toyota Camry, is very small so I figured he would eventually talk.
He didn't really know where to start, though, so I helped him break it down. I asked him to help me define a scale, with 10 being the most solid, stable, mature girl he knows, and 1 being the most flighty, flirty, immature girl he knows. This was easier to conceptualize and he quickly determined which girls would be at the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. I was so relieved to find a girl I know and really like to be at the top of that scale, and a girl I know OF and don't have much respect for at the bottom. Whew. At least he sees them like I do. That's a good starting point.
He went on for a bit, assigning numbers on the scale to a few of the girls he knows, but then hesitated. The scale was too limiting. What about girls who are a little flighty and flirty, but seem to be solid in their Christian beliefs? I revised the first scale and added another one: 1 being the most unconcerned with spiritual things and 10 being totally solid in her beliefs, and 1 being the most flirty and flighty and 10 being the most stable and mature.
We discussed how constant flirtiness and flightiness is a sign of emotional instability and immaturity, how a girl who has to have boys' attention all the time doesn't really think much of herself and doesn't feel like she is capable of doing much on her own. This was a new thought to him, but it made sense.
With the two scales in place, he told me more about some of the girls he knows. It was very enlightening--especially once I guaranteed him that the information he shared would stay in the car and not be shared. I'm so glad that he trusts me.
After a few minutes of this, I decided to raise the stakes and add one more scale. I added the Attraction Scale, with 1 being a person he feels no attraction to and 10 being the opposite. He squirmed a little. We talked about the fact that his opinions don't necessarily have to match up with those of the media and pop culture, that a guy can find himself attracted to a girl for lots of different reasons and that some of those reasons aren't portrayed accurately in the media. It's not wrong for him to like a girl who is pretty according to fashion magazine standards, but just because she is that kind of pretty doesn't guarantee that he will actually be attracted to her. In other words, not every girl who is 'attractive' is someone he will feel an attraction to. He is a fairly mature kid. He understood and agreed.
After reiterating my guarantee of not sharing the results of my poll, he began to tell me which girls he found himself attracted to. It was a fascinating look into his world and his mind.
After a few minutes of it (I told you it is a long drive from town), I decided to push it just one step further. I let him know that I was going to do something that he may or may not be comfortable with. His eyes narrowed. I warned him that he might consider this to be subversive. I saw the wheels spin in his head as his mental search engine scanned the archives for the definition of this vocabulary word. I explained that I was going to go behind his back and try to be a little manipulative. His eyes got big. A look of betrayal shot across his face and he demanded to know what I was going to do.
I was going to pray, I informed him, that sometime in the coming years God would send into his life a perfect ten--a girl who solidly lives out her beliefs, who is stable and mature, someone to whom he is irresistibly and hopelessly attracted--and that he would fall hard for her and never recover. And that it would be mutual.
A slow smile spread across his face. He gazed out the window and watched the mountains go by.
I held my breath to see what his response would be.
His eyes didn't leave the scenery, but his deep voice rumbled softly: