High School/My Life/Partying/Teen Life That Prom Pressure by Brian Kissinger I’ll never forget my senior prom. A bunch of us rented a limo and took our dates to a fancy restaurant for dinner, nervously ordering from a menu that never told us the prices of the options we were choosing from. Fortunately I could afford such a classy place, having spent the previous summer cleaning toilets to provide for my extravagant lifestyle. The dinner was nice, but it wasn’t the highlight. It wasn’t even the dance itself, which was fun but impossibly overhyped. The best part of the night was our arrival to the dance. After spending most of my hard earned toilet money at the fancy restaurant, I had the limo driver drop my date and me off in the parking lot of a local Chinese restaurant. The other couples stayed in the limo and headed to the dance while we hopped into my friend’s dump truck. (Life tip: one of the many perks of toilet cleaning is that you typically have friends who own dump trucks.) The truck had been decorated with a large piece of plywood on the side that said “DATE DUMPER” in elegant spray paint graffiti. As hundreds of parents and families lined the entrance to the prom to photograph (in the year 2000 we had to rely on other people to take our pictures) everyone else arriving in limos, there was an audible sense of shock, horror, and disgust as our dump truck driver opened the passenger door to let us out of the cab. I loved every second of it. Many of my friends were disappointed by their experience at the prom that year. One close friend was dumped by his girlfriend that night and another friend’s attempt at romance turned awkward really fast. But even for those friends who had a great time, the night ended and life went on. I think that one of the biggest struggles in high school is the false sense of urgency that teenagers are faced with. Sadly the senior prom often ends up being presented as a final opportunity to either find happiness or prove your worth. Looking back now, there’s very little I remember about a night that was supposed to be so important. If you don’t want to go to prom, or if you haven’t been asked to prom, I have great news for you: your worth and your dignity are not defined by your senior prom. God has so much in store for you beyond your senior year of high school, and I promise you’ll look back years from now and laugh at how relatively insignificant the event is. But if you are going to prom, here are a few pieces of advice: Remember your dignity Make decisions that you would be proud of years from now. Don’t ruin the night by drinking. Don’t jeopardize your immortal soul for the short-term promise of pleasure that sin offers. Everyone dresses up for prom, and the dignified attire should remind us of our God-given dignity as His beloved sons and daughters. Don’t settle for less than you deserve, both in the way you dance and in the decisions you make at the end of the night. Honor your date If you’re a guy, here are some tips. Make sure that you are paying attention to your date, listening to her, and seeking opportunities to affirm her through your words and actions. If you’re a girl, here are some tips. Expect the guy you’re with to treat you with respect, and return the respect by paying attention to him as well. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend the whole time with your date, but it’s important that each person is being attentive to their date and honoring the fact that the other person chose to attend the dance with you. Pray I know it may sound crazy, but how cool would it be if you began the date with a short prayer? I don’t mean that you should pray that your date falls in love with you, but that you pray that they have a good time and that your actions throughout the night will reflect your relationship with Christ. You have an opportunity to be an example to your peers, to show them through your actions that you can have fun at a dance without compromising your values. Have Fun Last but not least, make sure you have a good time. Don’t settle for the “fun” that is momentary and becomes painful regret the next morning. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your date, and keep in mind that this is just one night and not a make-it-or-break-it experience that will define your life. If a dump truck isn’t available, you can still have fun. It just won’t be as cool as my prom experience.