Written by Amy Purintun

It’s just different. That’s what I tell my girls when they want to know WHY their brother gets to do things that they don’t. Or maybe the rules for him are a little different than the rules that they have. Let me fill you in….

The “rule” at our house for dating is that you have to be sixteen. THEN, before you get to go on any type of a solo date, you have to have the boy/girl come to our house for a family supper. That way mom and dad get to meet this person that you will be alone with and have a chance to get to know them just a bit first. This rule worked great for us with our son. Well, basically because he wasn’t that interested in dating anyway.

That changed his senior year of high school. Suddenly, he had a girl that he wanted to take to Homecoming. It was only one date, and we knew the family. In fact, had known the family for quite some time. And, now he was seventeen – going on eighteen, and would be on his own at college in a few short months. Going through the motions for having his one-time date come over for supper when the schedule was nuts already seemed like overkill. So, we let the rule slide. He still got the lecture on being a gentlemen, going to the door, treating his date as though she was someone’s wife/princess, etc. The night went well – and we went back to a house of normal.

After Christmas, our eldest daughter found an interest in a certain boy in her class. WHAT? This was a whole new ball game for the daddy and the mama. She wasn’t yet sixteen. We were not ready for this one.

We have always randomly checked our children’s’ text messages that are on their phones. When I ask for the phone to check it, it has to appear immediately, unlocked and the texts are then checked. Our radar went on alert one night when I asked to see her phone (please), and she hesitated. She didn’t want to give the phone over. Her brother from across the room says, “don’t delete anything – give it to mom”, and “don’t be stupid – you will lose your phone!”. She still hesitated. Not a long time, but still for a bit. THAT got the curiosity level elevated WAY up in my mind. She gave me the phone, and I scrolled through the texts to see what all was going on in her world.

Well, some of the texts I came across were from a boy. THE boy. The one that she was a little taken with at the moment. I was reading through them, and a couple of them were NOT what I expected. In fact, when I read them to her father, he raised up off his chair. Of course, I asked her about them – and she assured me that it was “nothing”. She also told me that I was coming into the middle of a conversation, and didn’t have all the details. (now in her defense, she had texted back that her parents checked her texts – the boy responded that “he wasn’t worried”)  Oooooookaaaaay.

The father and I were now on “red alert” regarding all things with this boy. Based on one text – of which, we did not know the full story – we had come to some pretty quick decisions regarding his character. Because I volunteer at the school quite often, I was able to ask some of my teacher-friends there what their thoughts/opinions of said boy were as well. Their responses did not soothe my concerns.

In January, there was a show choir competition event that happened at our high school. It is a HUGE fund-raiser, and I was one of the main people in charge. The entire family was involved. My daughter was one of the helpers for the day. The texting boy was a member of show choir. They were going to find ways to be together throughout the day. Fortunately, I had the chance to walk up to him and introduce myself to him. I also had him meet her father since my hubby was there. Soon my daughter came up to me, and FREAKED out. She could not believe that her father and I were “stalking” said boy. She also informed me that the boy was totally intimidated by meeting her dad (good!), and nearly pooped his pants. (again, good!)  She informed me that we needed to “back off” and “quit spying on him”. Others in the show choir were calling her parents the “dating Nazis”. (hmmm…no problem with that!)

Actually, both of my daughters were together at that point. Both telling me how awful it was that I was watching over them so closely. I explained to them that since I was one of the adults in charge of the entire event, my job was to keep an eye on everything. That included monitoring halls and rooms. I WAS in and out of the room they were in, but I was in and out of EVERY room that day. They were being vain if they thought that I was only watching them. It was part of my job description for the day. As long as everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing, there would not be any need to be concerned.

They quickly countered with, “you NEVER did that with our brother!”, and “it’s not fair that you treat us differently!”. Now, at this point I lowered my voice, and asked them if they really wanted to go where this conversation was about to go. Right here? Right now? Mind you, we were having the discussion in the lunchroom with about three or four hundred other people in the room at the moment. Hands on their hips, and heads tilted to the side, they were ready to have the discussion. They wanted answers. WHY did their brother get different treatment about dating than they did? It was not fair.

I looked them both in the eyes, and said, “Because with your brother, I only have to worry about ONE penis, and with each of you I have to worry about EVERY OTHER penis in the world.”

The conversation was over. For some reason they were done talking.
Now the daughter is sixteen. The boy from the story is a memory of the past, and we made it through the entire episode with minimal emotional scaring. (I did get to know the boy a bit better, and he did redeem himself from my first impression. A bit.)  But, I have to say again. It is just different.

The “dinner at home before the date” rule is firmly in place once again. We’ll see if we have any takers!

Amy Purintun

"Hope burns eternal", is how Amy Purintun feels about life. Growing up in rural small-town Nebraska, Amy got to experience the joys and pitfalls of everyone knowing everyone's business. College found Amy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (then Kearney State) earning her degree in Elementary Education. Amy has been married for twenty-three years to her high-school sweetheart. The early years of married life were spent in Kansas City, followed by several years in Columbus, Nebraska. Amy and her family have lived in Gretna, Nebraska for the past 16 years. There are three children in the family ages 13, 16, and 18. Currently the Director of Standards and Practices for the Purintun Family, Amy spends many days each week volunteering her time not only at her children's schools, but also at the church the family attends. Amy organizes and facilitates the Wednesday Morning Women's Bible Study, and also helps to lead the various aspects of the middle-school and high-school youth activities at the church. Amy enjoys reading and researching online and finds it fulfilling to share what she has learned with those she cares about. Amy feels best about herself when she is encouraging and helping others. From surviving the "honeymoon years", the near loss of her husband in a plane crash, job changes, moves, making it through the exhaustion of raising small children, managing all the drama of teenaged children, to the loss of her father recently, Amy continues to find strength through her faith in God and believes that hope does in fact burn eternal.