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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)

TITLE: Drawing a line
By Rosamund Bunney
02/17/12


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She wandered casually into the kitchen and started making a sandwich. “I was thinking of taking up smoking.”

“Oh,” I responded, mentally pressing my “don’t overreact” button.

“What do you think?” she persisted.

“Well, apart from the fact that it’s illegal at your age,” I replied, “I’d have thought you’d have more sense, but I suppose they’re your lungs and you can do what you like with them.”

“What do you mean?”

“A generation ago when people weren’t fully aware of the effects of smoking, I guess they took it up, and by the time the dangers were beginning to be understood, they were addicted and couldn’t stop. But now that we know what we know about smoking, why on earth would anyone start?”

She frowned. “But you wouldn’t try to stop me?”

“Of course. If I saw you smoking I would stop you. I would stop you breaking the law in any way and at the moment you’re too young to smoke legally. But I’m not stupid. I know that if you want to smoke behind my back there’s nothing I can do about it. I just hope you have a bit more sense.”

“Sarah wants me to smoke with her.”

“And if Sarah wanted you to jump off the bridge with her, would you do it?”

“Well no, because if I did that I would get killed and there’s no going back from that. But I could smoke just once and never do it again.”

“What’s the point?”

“The thing is, if I never try these things, how will I know if I like them or not? All my friends do it, and it might be really fun, and if I never try it I could miss out on the fun.”

“Well, yes, that’s one way of looking at it,” I responded, shooting up a quick arrow-prayer for divine wisdom. “But then your friends might do all sorts of things that you haven’t tried yet.”

“What sort of things?”

“Well – drinking and drugs and sex and abortions and Ouija boards....”

Her face grew more horrified as the list went on. “I only asked if I could smoke.”

“Yes, but you’ve just said if you never experiment, how will you know if you like it. And you might one day ask yourself the same question about those other things.”

“I’m not stupid enough to do those things.”

“Oh – so you intend to draw a line somewhere then?”

“Yes of course.”

“So if you’re going to draw a line somewhere, why not draw it this side of smoking, instead of the other side?”

She was quiet, wrapping her sandwich in cling film and placing it in her lunch box. We never did discuss it any further, and I know she sometimes smoked away from the house. But my words weren’t entirely wasted because she did decide to draw some firm lines. Fifteen years have passed since that conversation and she looks back to her fifteen year old self with some amusement. Every now and then she tells me some snippet about things she got up to behind my back. She didn’t smoke for long, and she didn’t try any of the other things on my list. She even got all the way through university with her virginity intact. But the way she tells it, it wasn’t because I laid down the law and imposed rules. It was because before she went to university she fell in love with Jesus, and then she never wanted to do anything to grieve Him.

I am grateful that He came to her and stole her heart and that He has been her first love ever since. And I am so grateful to Him that He gave me the wisdom that day not to overreact and give her something to rebel against.


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This article has been read 194 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 02/23/12
Beautiful story and great dialogue between parent and child. I loved that she went through college without compromising her scruples and faith. Lovely story. Thank you for this.

God Bless~
Leola Ogle 02/23/12
I would recommend this for all parents to read! A wealth of wisdom in this story! Good job! God bless!
Linda Motchman02/24/12
What an honest, inspiring, well-written piece. Thanks for not cluttering up your writing with needless words and descriptions. Thanks for being honest - your words alone didn't change your daughter's behaviour, you let God do most of the work.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/12
I enjoyed this story. It moved along at a nice pace. It reminded me of the time my daughter's boyfriend said How do you know drugs are bad if you don't try them? I was furious and called him up and said Gee she's never tried murder before either, how does she know that's bad? He didn't pressure her again. Many of my kids'friends were afraid of me but I never figured out why. :)
Edmond Ng 02/25/12
The temptation to experiment with what everyone else is doing is always a dangerous thing, but we seldom can run away from that with our kids. Your story comes across very well on how such a situation should be handled. May God be our guide. Thank you for sharing this excellent piece! God bless.
Marlin Prentice02/26/12
Good, well written story. very clear and to the point. Very easy read and no places of confusion or unnecessary details.
Really enjoyed the story. Falling in Love with Jesus is the only thing that will keep any of us from crossing the line.
Hiram Claudio02/27/12
Such an excellent piece of writing and so full of amazing and yet very practical instruction. I enjoyed so much that solution at the end ... "to fall in love with Jesus" - truly to answer to all the deep issues we face.

Thank you sharing this wonderful wisdom with us!
Noel Mitaxa 03/01/12
Love the warmth of your characterisation and the clarity of the message that you have wrapped up within it. Very well-drawn, and i love that closing thought.
Hiram Claudio03/01/12
Congratulations on the "Highly Commended" recognition!
CD Swanson 03/01/12
Congratulations on your placement. Nicely done.

God Bless~
Nancy Bucca 03/01/12
Congratulations on your highly commended. This article has a powerful message which I really enjoyed.