This afternoon my good friend Cheryl and I were discussing junior high romance. Both of us have girls this age, but different opinions on the subject. I look back upon my junior high days and remember being so excited when a boy asked you to “go with him” as the phrasing went in the ’80’s. I remember my heart skipping a beat and thinking about seeing them at the Friday night football games with a large group of all your friends. Passing the random notes between classes, and maybe a quick shy and embarrassed phone call (with the voices of your brother and sister in the back ground squealing about a boy in need of an acne treatment calling the house).
That isn’t to say I don’t remember the bad times too. The boy who broke up before valentines and gave the carnation meant for you to another girl. The boy who really just wanted to find someone to “make out” with and then broke up when he found out you aren’t that kind of girl. These to me are hard lessons but worthy of learning. To test the waters a bit to understand what relationships are about at all types of levels even the most immature. It is a foundation and stepping stone for future relationships. In my mind to know your heart you have to use it and learn from it.
Cheryl has a completely different idea. She prefers her daughter to remain on the sidelines of teen romance scene and not share her heart at all. To keep it pure and intact for when the right one comes her way. She says a piece of your heart gets torn away with each relationship you try. A fine and noble concept that I completely admire. I know her daughter has watched and learned by avoiding the pitfalls of her lovelorn classmates. She has figured out that the guys around her are not right for her. It has worked for her daughter to some degree but in my opinion it is not a route you learn or grow from.
I don’t think either of us is right or wrong, just very different opinions. I don’t think I would be able to love my husband as much as I do If I had not learned some of my lessons the hard way. As I guide my girls through their own junior high romances I wonder if I am dong the right thing by allowing them to test the waters with these beginner relationships, or if indeed I am not leaving their hearts pure for their one true love. I am curious to what others remember about this age are there good lessons to be learned, or just lessons to be avoided?