It is difficult to advise a young, teenage girl how to stay on the right path. With all the peer pressure and expectations, being a teen can be a twelve hour a day job. That’s what my daughter Elisha tells me.
When she was younger it seemed easier. She accepted most of my advice as the gospel and believed everything would always turn out “just fine.” To her everything was just fine.
“Elisha, how is the spaghetti?” “Just fine.”
“How was your day?” “Just fine.”
“How are you feeling?” “Just fine.”
It’s really hard these days to get a “fine” or an “okay” out of her. She is flying out the door, on the phone or reading. When she is reading, an earthquake could shake the house down around her. We would all go running outside yelling, “Come on, Elisha.”
She’d probably then say, “fine” or “okay,” and never move.
I shouldn’t really complain about all her reading. She reads decent things. Mostly she reads books by lady authors that write about young women responding to their changing environment with a Christian outlook. Now doesn’t that sound good? Or do I sound like I am living in a cave? There are all these teen magazines in her room. Some college pamphlets and a few catalogues lie in the corner. In all honesty, though I haven’t seen much of what my mom would call “trash” reading.
Even though I trust her judgement in choosing her reading material, it was less complicated when she was little and I did all her reading. Bible stories, Jack and Jill type stuff and Highlights magazines were her genre.
Teaching her about the right pathways came easily. Well, except once. We had been talking about staying on the right path and the things that could happen when we stray. I asked her if she knew any dangers about not doing as God wants.
She said yes and told me about Jonah and Paul. She said, “Paul got struck plumb blind.” I said, “Uh um, what about Jonah.”
“A big fish came and swallowed him whole and his colored coat, too,” she announced.
I told her I think she had gotten Jonah and Joseph mixed up. “Joseph had a coat of many colors, honey. Not Jonah,” I explained.
“Momma, do you really think when that fish puked up Jonah, his coat was just one color? She asked.
As usual, she had thought this through and was right. I pray she always thinks things through and I trust the words, “Train up a child in the ways of the Lord and he shall not depart from them.”
I hope the Lord knows I need a road map with all this teenager stuff. I guess he does. He left the Bible and North and South are pretty clear. I believe everything will be “just fine.”
(written by Lisa Huskey, Spring 2000 when Elisha was 14 – Elisha is now a senior in college in Maryville, Tennessee)