Preparation for Girls small group has been looming in front of me for several days. Through different circumstances, I am now the only person leading for the summer, so prep is all on me. I began to really dread it, so I just decided that last night was going to be a "Girls Night". I rented 27 Dresses and got Ice Cream and toppings. (You can't have a Girls Night without junk food!)
It was a lot of fun hanging out with my girls and watching the movie. It sparked conversation and brought out the girly side in all of us. A funny thing started to happen at all of the romantic parts - a collective "AWWW!" would erupt throughout my apartment. The "AWWW!" said so much more than, Isn't that sweet!. Each girl has a desire to be pursued like that - but many times how we dream of it happening - and how its portrayed in movies - is perfection. Perfection isn't reality.
"It doesn't happen like this in real life" I yelled out. "Says the girl who got proposed to on the Eiffel Tower" one of my girls said. Sure, that moment was awesome and Matt reminds me often of what a great job he did. But that incredible moment lasted seconds, then back to reality! How do I talk to my girls about this and make sure they hear me? I couldn't come up with anything brilliant (How did my youth pastors' wives do that? They always came up with something brilliant that would challenge me in that moment and stuck with me forever!) but at least the conversation was started.
Matt and I are pretty transparent with our students - we don't fake perfection. Several of our students don't have parents that have healthy relationships - so ours is the only one they're exposed to. We've talked with them about how hard relationships are and that they take a lot of work. It was pretty cool when I heard through the grapevine that one of our students had said she wanted a marriage like ours.
Whether we realize it or not - teenagers are watching and listening! Let's just hope that what they are soaking up isn't perceived perfection - but hard-working-and-rewarding reality.