To (future) teenage boys re: our Treasure

I read this blog post today from a mom to her son’s female facebook friends. I am sure you have too, since it has popped up about 25 times in my news feed over the last 12 hours. If you haven’t, you can read it here. It’s good…really good. It got me thinking about what I would write to my daughter’s male counterparts in say, 14 years or so, given that facebook is still relevant of course!

Dear boy,

I think you should know first and foremost that we believe in this house that our daughter is a treasure. She is being raised to respect herself and others and a large part of our ability to encourage this is that we know her friends. We know you, whether you know us or not. We ask questions about you at the dinner table. We pray for you and we cheer your successes, all because you are important to our daughter, our treasure.

Of course you should also know that we are keeping an eye on you too. You should know that the things you post online are not only being viewed by my daughter, but also by her once-cool mom. That string of curse words you just used to describe your relationship with your parents makes me sad, first, but mostly it throws me into protective mode for my treasure. Censorship may not be popular, but when it comes to this family’s reading material, it is commonplace. So, you, my friend, are out of the line up. And you, shirtless McGee…get dressed. I expect my daughter to be fully clothed in any photo she chooses to share with the world wide web. That junk lives FOREVER! I understand that it is socially acceptable for males to be shirtless in the pool, mowing the lawn and hanging at the beach. However, what message are you trying to send by posting a photo of your flexed, awkwardly posed teenage pecs? Are you trying to look sexy for my daughter? Are you trying to look tough for the other boys? Neither of those reasons are passable in this house, for our treasure. You’re cut, too, bud, mostly because if you can’t respect yourself enough to accurately represent who you ARE (not what you look like half-clothed) then how do I know you can be trusted to respect this girl who is my world? And finally, if you think that it is cool to brag about your exploits with other girls, evading authority, skipping class, bullying others, being disrespectful to your parents or teachers, hurting animals or any of the other myriad of things a teenage boy MIGHT think is cool…no chance. Lose her number because you have already been blocked.

All of this makes me a protective parent, I am fully aware, but I don’t believe it makes me OVER-protective. She is mine and her father’s treasure, after all, and if you had a treasure worth more than all the riches in the world, would you not protect it to the best of your ability? Before you walk away thinking that we would like to keep her locked in a tower, you should know this. My greatest aspiration for my beautiful daughter is that she finds a beautiful man to treasure her beautiful heart as much as her papa and I do. So, if you display the traits of a worthy man, a gentleman, a noble man…you may most definitely stick around. Come to dinner sometime and hear those prayers we pray. Join in! Show us what makes you special to our girl. Open the door for her. Help with the dishes. Speak kindly of your parents. And, of course, build your online persona to reflect your true heart. Don’t be lured in to the thinking that “bad is cool.” Any girl worth getting, a girl like our girl, will want a guy worth getting, a guy like you. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes. We all make them. But, do correct them. Go forward from today with the idea that you are enough, young sir. You don’t need to prove yourself to your buddies or your parents or even us, the parents of this awesome girl. The only opinion that really matters is the Lord Almighty’s and if you are living with Him in your sights…well, we likely won’t have to block you number.

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