I’ve seen this article pop up on my feed twice recently–one in favor and one opposed. To summarize, a mom offered her kids $1,000 each if they made it to age 16 without being kissed. She sweetened the deal by upping the ante to 10 grand if they made it to 18. Both her kids made it to 18, so the mom ended up forking out $20,000 total for her kids.
In an attempt at brevity, I’m just going to say that although I give props to the mom for playing a proactive role in her kids’ lives, I disagree with the execution. Kids do not need monetary compensation for making good choices, and I’m going to leave it at that.
(Deep breath. Because I could go on and on about that, but I’ll refrain.)
Anyway, this article got me thinking about the choices I made as a teen and the impact they had and currently have on my life.
I “made it” to 20 before I got my first kiss. I hesitate to use the words “made it” because I don’t feel that they accurately describe my journey. Made it implies some herculean effort: that I fought my way there and descended from the mountain of my teen years weary from fending off all my suitors. In all honesty, it wasn’t hard. Easy, even, in comparison to my later typical dating woes.
I think it goes without saying that my parents didn’t offer me money to preserve the sanctity of my lips. In fact they never explicitly told me to not kiss or have a boyfriend in high school. I knew that’s what they’d want from me. And that’s what I wanted for myself.
I did have the opportunity to “go out” with a couple guys, but when it came down to it, it felt wrong. I turned them down not because I had some tangible incentive or because my parents would be unhappy. I knew I’d feel unhappy with that decision.
After this happened a couple times, guys stopped asking. I like to think it’s because word got around that I wasn’t interested in dating. But let’s be honest here; maybe I wasn’t the most interesting teen. I had some really fun and outgoing friends, and I tended to play the role of silent supporter. And I still haven’t figured out how to make my hair and makeup look good. Story of my life. (I take her home, I drive all night to keep her warm) (Ok, confession time: I actually kind of like that song.)
Anyway, fast forward a couple years and I was a sophomore in college and still had virgin lips in my possession. At one point I looked back on my high school decision to not have a boyfriend and wondered if I’d done the right thing. I was frustrated with how dating was going for me and couldn’t help but wonder if I’d inadvertently doomed my love life by keeping guys at a distance in my tender youth. It seemed like other girls had some unfair advantage because they had relationship experience to draw from.
My only regret now is that I doubted. I should have had more faith that my good decisions would be rewarded. Because they most certainly were. Not in the form of $10,000, though. I went into my marriage with a clear conscience and with the knowledge that my worth was not dependent on my ability to get a boyfriend. And no amount of money could top that.