PERFUME PROMISES AND THE LONG-EARED TAXI CAB
I look through a teen girls’ magazine. You know, the kind whose sole focus is on looking good and snagging a guy who looks equally good. The kind that has articles on being a great kisser, the best kind of birth control and how to dress so he notices.
The kind you don’t want your daughter reading, though more than 2 million teen girls DO read it.
I notice the promises made in the ads.
A place in paradise (clothes)
Eternal joy (perfume)
Something to hope for (moisturizer)
Answer to your search (body lotion)
Never worry again (lipstick)
Be confident (nail polish)
I think about the teen girls we parent and the teen girls we teach.
And I shudder at the messages that are communicated in these glossy pages. They can find eternal joy, hope and meaning – just by buying the advertised products?
How do we communicate that true worth comes from the Lord, not from how we look, dress or smell?
At first, this might seem like a disconnect – but stay with me. My thoughts go back to sixth grade Sunday school. At the beginning of the quarter, our teacher announced a contest – anyone who said so many verses, did so many lesson-based activities and showed up every week had the opportunity to earn a cool prize. He even had the prizes there – colorfully-wrapped packages that would appeal to and motivate most any 12-year-old – but he didn’t tell us what was inside the boxes. For weeks, I worked hard to earn one of those prizes – as did most other kids in the class. So, when he announced that I was one of the winners, I was over-the-top excited. I wanted to know what was inside.
Now, as an adult I know that even promised prizes aren’t always that great (think of the animals we win at carnivals – stuffed with pointy straw rather than anything cuddly and soft.) But when you’re 12 and looking at a fun-wrapped package week after week, you think maybe, just maybe, what’s in the box will be the answer to your dreams.
So now the day was here and the teacher handed us the boxes. With enthusiasm we ripped off the ribbon and paper – to find a set of the Captain Daley’s Crew books: The Missing House Boat; The Long-Eared Taxi Cab, etc.
“Cool,” said a friend. He picked up one of the books and opened the front cover. “Wow,” the author even signed them.”
Puzzled, I looked at my teacher. I wondered what thoughts were running through his brain as he waited for my response to the prize.
“Thanks,” I finally said and class began.
But still I was puzzled and remain puzzled until this day.
Did he really think I needed a complete set of Captain Daley books?
My father wrote those books. (And the teacher knew that. My dad was his pastor.)
I had my own set at home – not with my father’s formal name scrawled across the title page, but autographed with the words “Love, Dad.”
I had read the books before they were even printed. We had boxes of them in the closet and I could get one whenever I wanted. If I had wanted to give one to every kid in my class at school, my dad would’ve let me.
Why did my Sunday school teacher give me something he knew my own father had authored?
And what does this sixth-grade story have to do with perfume and lipstick?
The world is offering our teens eternal joy, hope and meaning. All the teens have to do is buy the product and their quest for satisfaction will be filled. Yet, let’s be honest. Even if those products DO offer momentary pleasure – that feeling will last only a few minutes – until the next product comes along.
But our teens (if they have trusted Christ as Savior) already have all the eternal joy, hope and meaning that they could possibly want. They are the daughters of a Heavenly Father. Out of love, He sent His only Son to earth to die for our sins; – looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Just like I didn’t have to earn the points to get books my father had written (I had an unlimited supply), so we don’t have to buy into the world’s culture to earn all the good gifts our Heavenly Father has already given us as His children. They are ours (and we have an unlimited supply).
I didn’t need the books. I was the daughter of the author.
Teens don’t need the world’s empty promises of eternal joy, hope and meaning.
Their heavenly Father’s autograph is already on their lives.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 at 5:00 am and is filed under biblical worldview, Critical Thinking, Right and Wrong, Trends, Tweens/teens. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.