Those two words strike terror into many a Christian parent’s heart. We all remember what prom nights meant for us (at least for those of us going to prom in the 80s and 90s). Prom meant:
- Ridiculously expensive meals.
- Ridiculously expensive tuxedos and dresses.
- Gobs of make-up and revealing dresses on young women everywhere.
- Gawking young men.
- Dancing too close and too long, and to sexually explicit lyrics.
- Boys groping girls was common place during my school dances, and that didn’t change at prom.
- All night parties, and even some overnight “dates” that were guaranteed to involve sex.
So, now you may better understand why I am anti-prom! My wife and I determined by God’s grace to raise our daughters in more godly ways. It’s why we chose homeschooling. Academics had little to do with it. Purity, God-centeredness and gospel-drivenness compelled our educational choice. And Prom. Well, it wasn’t part of the plan.
But Saturday night, I watched my oldest daughter dance for hours with some of her friends at a Prom. One of the young women in our church organized a Prom for homeschooling families. I must say I was skeptical. But in the end, I saw young women dressed beautifully and modestly. Few of them had gaudy amounts of make-up. The young men wore trousers and button-up shirts and ties. Girls danced with their friends who were girls, and some of the boys joined in the fun. There was no slow-dancing allowed. Adult chaperons / parents were abundant. Teens went home with their parents that night.
While I am not naive enough to believe that there was no lust going on in the hearts of those teens, I do know that the conditions to act on that lust or to feed that lust were simply not present. Not permitted.
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its lusts” (Rom 13:14).
Now, some Christians would call me square. Too conservative. Too cautious. Over-bearing. Well, you don’t know the half of it! I’m so weird that I don’t even believe in slow-dancing with my teen daughter. I do not plan to have a “Dad-Daughter” dance at her wedding. First because she now has been given to the headship of another man. He gets the dance for the rest of his life now. But second because I do not slow dance with any woman other than my wife! I am not romantic with my teen daughter. Daddy-daughter dances with elementary-aged kids are one thing, but expecting Dads to act romantic toward their daughters who are young women is, in my thinking, weird.
I’m not called to be romantic with anyone other than my wife. And the very best way I can teach my daughters what real romance looks like is to give it to their mother lavishly! They need to see romance only in the context of the covenant of marriage. That’s where God designed it to be.
“I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Songs 8:4).
You don’t have to agree with my every whim or perspective here. But it is worth considering how best we can model and instruct our children in true love and romance. We must create circumstances, as much as it is in our power to do so, that allow our children to thrive in purity and to starve out that lust beast within. And above all, we must point them to the Savior who took the punishment from God we earn with our every lustful thought. It wasn’t just for our physical acts of sex outside marriage that Jesus died. He died for our sin-sick hearts and minds that far too often rage with lust (Matt 5:27-30).
In the end, it’s not a dance with me or any other man that I want my daughters to most long for. My prayer, my great desire, is that they would yearn for the eternal love of the Perfect Bridegroom. His name is Jesus. And He is more beautiful even than a home school Prom done well.