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My advice to all of you going to prom.

Prom season is in full swing and it seems this rite of passage event for teenagers is everything a person could possibly imagine! The build-up is immense to prom for every teenager. A wishful girl can only hope that her suitor will somehow ask her to prom via some elaborate plan that ends with the letters P-R-O-M and a question mark at the end on poster board. If she is lucky there will be someone to take the picture so they can both share it on Instagram (their parents will share it on Facebook).

What ever happened to picking up the phone and calling a girl? Heck, even writing a note in a check-yes-or-no fashion!

The build up for prom is crazy!

The money on a tux, dress, make-up, limo rental, dinner, flowers, hospital deductible…kidding.

It is indeed a sight to behold all the money that goes into this. No matter how much I poke fun at the lunacy known as prom it seems this is a rite-of-passage for teenagers that my kids will probably want to attend. Unless your kid goes to a Christian school, then the name for it is called “banquet” which is prom without the dancing.

Same idea.

So if you’re going to prom (or you have a son or a daughter who is going) I have three pieces of advice for you.

#1 – Don’t be stupid

In the past year students in and around Nashville have died from drug deals going awry to overdosing on substances. If alcohol or drugs are involved then get your tail up and leave. You are too young and you have too much life ahead of you for you to simply throw it away on doing dumb things. I am going to be as transparent as possible with this next bit of advice that goes along with this point: keep your pants on and your dress down. Sex is a beautifully wonderful thing when done in a marriage covenant. Keep it under control and practice purity. Even if you are not a Christian, there are plenty of wonderful reasons to remain pure.

#2 – Have fun

The lie you are told is that you can only have fun by doing stupid things. I have done my fair share of stupid things but for the most part I have had the most amount of fun in my life in times that weren’t surrounded by idiotic mistakes. Laugh. Enjoy time with your friends. Make memories. Take plenty of pictures. Be silly. Pretend you know how to dance while people laugh at you.

#3 – Realize your identity does not come from prom

So you didn’t have someone make an elaborate plan to ask you to prom. So you didn’t even have a date or maybe the date that you had turned out to be a dud. Maybe the food was awful or your dress was not the way it should have been. It rained on you and your $150 hairdo looks like doo-doo. You know what? It really does not matter. My dad used to say, “Life is full of disappointments and this one is small in the grand scheme of things.” I don’t remember much from the two banquets I went to. I wore a chorus tux to one and the other seemed to be a huge façade to me. What I do know is I am here, alive, doing well and living life to the fullest and it has NOTHING to do with prom. My identity is who I am in the eyes of Jesus not society. Period.

So there you go. My two cents worth of advice as a youth minister, friend and father. Enjoy.