Thursday, July 28, 2011
Still Curfewsing: The Speech
Earlier this month I posted about the ongoing psych-op we call "Curfew" (Original post here). What I didn't anticipate was the terrific response. Apparently I hit a topic that many of us are interested in - with a wide array of opinions. It quickly became my #5 all time post, and my #1 most commented-on post. This was surprising to me, because I had been told that I was the only parent on the entire planet that still believed in the archaic curfew system.
Before I go on, I need to clarify one thing: My returned missionary FOML has never complained or questioned when we have asked him to follow some guidelines as to when to be home. He "gets it", probably doesn't like it, but he is just good.
So, to add another layer to the discussion, I would like to share with you "The Speech". This is a speech that I would give during annual youth interviews to 15 year-olds. It wasn't so much as speech, as a discussion, but here is the gist of it:
So, are you excited about turning 15?
There's not much different about 15 is there?
What about next year? That's a big one.
Yeah 16 will be cool.
What are you most excited about?
Sixteen is awesome. Do you want me to tell you one one of the great secrets of how to have more fun in high school?
Here's the deal: The more freedom you have, the better high school can be.
Yeah, but how can get more freedom. My parents are really strict.
Haha. I love your parents. Do you know what a "Trust Fund" is?
Yeah, it's where rich parents save up money to give their kids.
Right. See this jar with candy in it?
Imagine that is a jar with money in it.
Yeah, can I have a mint?
Sure...Let's call that jar your "Trust Fund".
OK. thanks for the mint.
You're welcome. Now, imagine that every time you do what you are supposed to do, your parents drop a quarter in the jar.
I get it. They trust me more.
Right. So, while you are 15, the best thing you can do is to try and build up your Trust Fund as much as you can.
How can I do that?
Lots of ways - and you probably won't like them all: Every time you come home when you are supposed to, every time you do your chores without being nagged, every time you tell your parents who you are with, and where you are going, they put more money in the "Trust Fund".
Sweet. How else?
When you help do the dishes, when you work on your Scripture Mastery, YM/YW stuff, when you turn off inappropriate shows or music, when you are nice to your brothers and sisters - every time you do these things, you are building up your Trust Fund.
Yeah, but I'm only 15, I can't do any good stuff yet.
Exactly! But in a year you will be 16. You will want to go on dates, stay out later, borrow the car, etc. I promise you that if your parents look at the jar and see that it is full, they are a lot more likely to give you the freedom to do the things you want to do. What you do this year will dramatically effect how much freedom you have next year. I can't promise that you will always get what you want, and your parents gotta have rules, but you will have more freedom and you will all be happier.
Yeah. Because they trust me.
Yep. Do you want an extra tip?
I guess so?
When you get home at night, spend a few minutes telling your parents about what you did that night - with details. They love that stuff.
Extra money in the jar?
Absolutely. Now here's the tough part. If you don't do the things you are supposed to do - if you miss curfew, if you fight with your parents, if you try and have a boyfriend/girlfriend, if you are snotty or cranky all the time , if you won't pick up your room - you will find that your parents will dump out the Trust Fund, and you'll have to start over. Same thing happens when you are older: You can build up the trust for a long time, but you can lose it all with one big bad choice, or a bunch of dumb little choices, or even a lousy attitude. Then, when you ask them to let you take the car, or stay out an extra hour to finish a movie, they are gonna look at the empty jar...
And say "No".
Maybe, but it does make sense.
I guess so.
If you want freedom, you have to build the Trust Fund, and keep it full. It take s a lot longer to re-earn trust than to earn it in the first place. So, if you want to have as much freedom as possible in High School, don't do anything that will take make your parents dump out your trust fund - and you need to start now.
OK. I'll try. Can I have another mint?