“Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Proverbs 2:11)
It is a strange experience in the life of any girl when she begins to realize that there is a difference in the way she feels toward boys and girls. While she enjoys being with her girl friends, she seems to also enjoy the company that includes a few boys. When she was but ten she could be her happiest with never a boy about, and if they did come and wished to join in her play with the girls, she felt angry about it. She said they were always teasing and tormenting, and the girls were better off with the boys away. Now, since she is in her teens, this attitude changes.
Before marriageable age the girl should be friendly to all but serious with none. Her friendship with boys should be frank and open with nothing in it loverlike. Social gatherings in her home should be without courtship and pairing up of boys and girls.
Some social gatherings are in place if they are conducted in a spiritual atmosphere and if older persons are present.
When boys and girls in their early and middle teens begin to think of themselves as sweethearts, they are getting on a footing that is not good. At that age neither of them has been wakened in the affections to know what they are about. The feelings they have are immature, though they may be the beginning of true love. Generally these romances are not permanent, and sometimes they are foolish. The wise girl avoids all such sentimental attachments and is contented with a hearty friendship. “Good times” that are spoiled by proper chaperoning, are to be condemned. I know sometimes it seems as though parents think their children will never grow up, and keep looking after them till they are entirely through their teens; but in every case it is all the better for the young people.
It is right that the girl should have opportunity for a pleasant social life, and parents will give them the opportunity as far as they are able.
But if a girl can have jolly, frank friendship with her boy acquaintances, such as is open to every girl in school, and yet keep herself from forming any sentimental attachments, then she will have a chance to know boys as they are. She can see their faults and virtues in their true light. She can notice the difference between the boys who smoke and those who do not, between those who are coarse and vulgar in their speech and manners and those who are pure and clean, between those who respect women and girls and always treat them with deference and those who do not, and seeing these differences she can form her ideals of manhood and nobility.
Girls have more influence with boys than they often realize. A boy who is rough and rowdy in the presence of one girl will be gentlemanly when with another girl, all because of the girl. If she is boisterous, and will laugh at his silly and offensive remarks, he will act on that level; but when he is with a girl who never smiles at that which is rude and vulgar, who is always quiet and modest in her way, he will act as he knows pleases her. He may seem to have the better time with the first girl, but he respects the other girl more. No girl is doing herself justice if she allows the boys any familiarities with her. She can so conduct herself that they will not be taking liberties. Girls should not scuffle with the boys, nor allow them to put their arms about them, to kiss them, nor to hold hands with them. Kissing games are foolish and harmful. It is not the proper thing for girls to be seeking, nor too ready to receive, compliments from the boys. Be reserved and careful, and though you do not seem to be so popular as the forward giddy girl who is always “cutting up” with the boys, you will have the respect of the best boys and young men, and she will not.
If girls could always wait till the Lord would reveal who the right one was for them instead of having sweethearts and trying to choose for themselves, they would often save themselves from doing foolish and silly things.
It is not best for a girl to seek to be what is sometimes called “a good pal” with the boys, being interested most in boys’ games and doings. Men and boys expect women and girls to be different from themselves, and when they find one who is always aping their ways and manners and acting as if trying to be one of them, it cheapens that girl and sex in the boys’ eyes. We do not like the “sissy” boy nor the “womanish” man; nor do they want us to act “mannish.” A girl can be a good friend and an interested comrade with her brother and his boy friends, without in the least making herself “common.”
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