Monday, November 28, 2011

What I knew then and what I know now.

When I was in high school, it seemed that everyone wanted to "have a steady boyfriend." I was fortunate in that my immediate friends shared with me the desire to grow into the woman we believed God wanted us to be. But, many of our classmates looked down on us as not sophisticated. Still, with our group, it was not accepted to have a steady until we were at least seniors. Even then, we had our doubts. The two girls who had a steady boyfriend had known them for several years before they went on the first date. Single dating just wasn't something we were ready for.

Although many people would laugh at this today, I can remember my first date's parents went with us. We went to their family reunion up in the mountains of Northwest Georgia. Another fellow I dated several times took either my grandmother or my first cousins with us. Every date we had except for two were to go to church. One of the non church dates was to a basketball team with another couple. The other was to the preacher's home.

Every Friday night, our parents took turns hosting a party for us at the community center. The parents whose turn it was to chaperone provided refreshments and we played board or card games or danced. The dances were very sedate and the slow dances looked nothing like what passes for slow dancing now. It was great training for the requirements of living at Shorter College just a couple of years after it went co-ed. What is there now does not even resemble our experience.

The rules at Shorter did not allow holding hands while walking. You could not sit closer than six inches. You could get a peck on the cheek at the Town House door under the watchful eye of the Dean of Women or Assistant Dean. Slacks and shorts were allowed outside the dorm under only two conditions : participation in a sport or under a full length raincoat with the top button fastened.

If the sports event was not participatory, the raincoat was required and NEVER could we wear slacks in public transportation. Slacks could be worn in the dining hall for Saturday morning breakfast or Sunday night dinner but only with the raincoat. Monday through Saturday evenings, Saturday noon and Sunday noon were seated meals with "Sunday best" and stockings and heels.

Gloves were worn to church and to formal receptions of which there were many. "Eats" (beverages or snacks) were never consumed while walking. One was seated to "take eats." Curfews were strict as were study hours. Cars were for upper classman unless (a) one had a part time job in town or (b) one's parents lived more than 200 miles away.

I do not recall finding these restrictions ornerous. It taught discipline and respect. I rather enjoyed them though we all laughed at some of the more extreme expressions.

Later, when I joined the financial community, I found that small towns expected the same respect and discipline of ladies who worked with other people's money. I recall one Saturday afternoon running to the local quick market to get eggs when I was baking a cake. (I had dropped two on the floor and lacked enough to finish.) I wore walking shorts to my knees and a sleeveless t-shirt and sandals. On Monday morning, I was reminded by my employer that such attire could cause clients not to take me seriously as a person managing their assets. I never did that again. To this day, I do not leave the house in bare arms.

So, what I knew then was that the Lord lends His Authority to the persons He permits to have authority over us. That meant that honoring the authority over us, regardless of whether we thought their rules had no meaning, was a way of showing our respect for the Lord. Those authorities included parents, other adults (teachers, policeman, neighbors and the like). What I learned later was how much easier life is when one does not rebel against the Lord's Authority. I learned that from discipline grows confidence and self-respect.

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