Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Senior Prom Saga No. 3

According to my friend at Musings of a Housewife, I should have learned something this past week. So, the senior prom saga continues....

Senior Prom Pics Appeared Immediately
I have already written about how prom pics began to appear on Facebook the morning after before non-prom goers had even arisen. All the pics were there to be viewed as I drank my morning coffee. It was mildly entertaining to see the hideous tuxes (What were they thinking?), the beautiful dresses, who had hired a limo, and who was with whom. I learned something sad about today's parents.

Stuart has Taught Me about Accepting Others' Differences
My Stuart has taught me a lot about being a mom and also about how to accept those who are different than myself. He is very unique and has his own way of thinking. He is completely comfortable in his own skin...maybe more than anyone I have ever known. He is not a 'rebel' but refuses to conform or to be pressed into a mold (Hmmmm...there might be a Bible verse on that subject). He chose 'Prom Not To Be' , and I accept this.

Clayton has Taught Me Cadets are Not Uniformly the Same
Clayton is also unique, but there's no getting around the fact that he is at West Point planning a military career, which denotes a certain amount of conformity. However, Clayton has taught me that cadets aren't robots, they have personalities, too.
This time last year Clayton was a senior who had chosen 'Prom To Be' and was stunningly handsome in his classic black tux. I got three pictures and five minutes. That beat the junior year's record when he had come in the door from a day of shooting guns with 10 minutes to shower and dress before he had to leave. I think we were figuring out studs as he was walking out he door.

One Went to Prom One Did Not
Here's the point: One went to prom and the other did not. I am uniquely able to understand both perspectives. As their mom, I accept both of them for who they are and try hard not to make them conform into the image of what I think they should be. This the part of parenting that has both challenged me the most and, at the same time, been the most exciting. Parenting in such a way as to gently guide but also allow the child to find his own path is as exciting as opening up a cool Christmas present every day. There are always new discoveries!

Some Parents...
Many parents expect their children to be a 'chip off the ole block' and a mini-me child is almost always displayed proudly on the family mantle. This an easy, natural bent of parenting. I have learned through many years of observing families that sometimes this 'chip- mentality' can be the child's natural way, but, more often, the child conforms to parental expectations in order to receive acceptance and affirmation. Dangerous.
And, then, there is the parent who 'wasn't' so now they are determined their child will be the one 'who is'. Easy to spot these types. They love to re-live life through their children; this often produces loud, bragging dads and moms who dress like high school girls. Do not do this.

Have Parents Gone Crazy?
So I'm looking at the Facebook pics seeing all the kids lined up (usually on the really nice house's massive staircase). First the girls. Now the boys. Now couple by couple. Now all together. Now with mom. Mom? Another mom? What's going on?
And then I see the pic of the parental paparazzi. Oh my gosh...have we parents gone crazy?

My Prom Was More Simple
On the night of Stairway to Heaven in '77, My dad told me that I was beautiful. When my date arrived, my mom helped pin on the boutonniere, took a few pics, my dad gave him a stern look which all boys understood (My dad wasn't a hunter, so he couldn't clean his gun and cleaning his golf clubs just wouldn't have communicated the same thing. He was reduced to 'the look'.), and we were on our way. My prom was much more simple.
I love my children. I love the pictures. I want to capture the moments, but I wonder if our putting them in the spotlight too much creates a false impression of their importance. On the one hand I want my children to know how special they are...on the other hand...maybe the return to two pics and a stern look would be better.

What do you think?
Is making our children into lil celebrities healthy for them?


  1. I saw your comment at Bonnie's page and I came over to say hi because I LOVED your little picture. So pretty. Cottages are adorable.

    So my take on this is that sadly, I would want to be one of the adoring parents in the line. I think it would be fun and it would make the moment last a little longer.

    But, that being said, I am totally nutty and WAY over protective. I also abhor growing up. I am sure more normal people would think it was over the top!

  2. Hey there-I posted under you one day at musing of a h.w. one day and clicked over, suspecting that we are "neighbors" in real life. Considering how big blog land is it seems like we are at least! I am in Maumelle. Your post today is so true, I have noticed the same thing, my girls are 14 and 11. I find I spend too much time trying not to be "that" parent and be myself in the face of all the over indulgence. Thanks for a few reminders today.

  3. Awe, They only do it twice when they are in high school and once at their wedding. I know what you mean, it is a little like fluffing. Do you have to go to it?

  4. I'm several years away from prom but I agree, it's become so crazy with how much goes into it. I wonder how much of it is the kids or the parents.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please come back and visit.

  5. I agree with you! My daughter is also a Senior this year and is going to the prom next week. We will take (lots) pictures and see them off from the driveway, and the rest of the evening is theirs. I don't personally know anyone who would do that, but I have heard of some that do, and am glad we are not part of it:)

  6. I agree with you 100%. I think these days it starts when they are very small. We've gone way overboard in making sure they know they are "loved". I think the problem is that it's not really preparing them for the real world.

    Believe me I love my boys and maybe have spoiled them from time to time but hopefully they are not growing up with this sense of entitlement I see in our society.

    That being said.. thank you for stopping by my blog and I'm glad I stopped by yours.

  7. On the occasion of prom, Younger Daughter's high school principal thanked me for arranging for the venue. I never really got along with the guy, so this kind of shocked me -- that he would thank me when I believed all along that he thought I was just trying to show off a membership in a country club.

    He told me that he got a catch in his throat when he saw the wide-eyed expressions on some of those all-dressed-up, thuggy kids' faces. He pointed out that some of the kids in Veronica's Hall High class would never again have the opportunity to attend something as nice as that prom, but that they would always have that shining moment to remember, fully documented in photo after photo. And maybe, just maybe, some would be motivated to work just a little harder to dream -- and live -- big dreams as a side-effect.

    I'd never looked at it in quite that light before, but now I get it.