You've seen her - - that girl - - the one over there laughing.
She defines what's popular. Secretly, most girls think she's stuck up. Boys call her untouchable, and yet, people still buzz around her like bees in fawning silence. She loves it! I call her the "laughing-girl."
I first heard this term from a book my mom had me read called "A Testimony of Two Men" by Taylor Caldwell. The author described the laughing-girl as a person who laughs because the world is hers! Starting from birth - her uncommon outward beauty mystifies and draws circles of devotees who love to watch her laugh at the world around her. She owns it, and she knows it.
You have seen girls like this: They walk through a room smirking knowing everyone is staring, knowing everyone is comparing, knowing no-one even comes close. They are always texting because they are never really present in the moment, "I have better things to do." She 's too good to soil herself in the affairs of the admiring peasants around her." She is a queen, she is her dad's pet, her mom vicariously lives through her life. So they give her the world...so she rightfully takes selfies & she laughs. Is she spoiled? "No," says her mom, "she's one-of-a-kind." (A finer and superior kind).
Her beauty, however, fades....
As a Christian dad that loves his two daughters, I do not want them to be "laughing-girls." Yes, laughing-girls are popular and strangely compelling, but they wither quickly as their beauty fades. They are like an annual flower, good for the spring and early summer season, but dead by mid-August -- never to flower again.
About four yeas ago I was outside weeding a flower bed in our yard. My oldest daughter came out and she seemed sad. As a father, it is hard to watch your daughter struggle through the cruel maze of popularity and status ...laughing-girls seem to always win; because they somehow get to set the rules for the game. So while I was planting some flowers, I told my daughter, "Do you know the difference between an 'annual flower' and a 'perennial?' Annuals are all cosmetic, they bloom quick and fade fast. Perennials, on the other hand, start slow, burying their roots deep in the ground, and each new spring they come back with bigger flowers and an abundance of blooms. The winter season doesn't kill them, but makes them stronger! Whereas for annuals... they can't survive."
So it is with "laughing-girls."
I told her how the Jr. High and High School years are like the 'annual flower's' spring and early summer. This is the "laughing-girl's" time to bloom. They are invited to the parties, they laugh in the car while their entourage laughs with them, and they play with boys like a cat plays with mice. And to the watching world, they seem to always win!
But I wouldn't want to marry a "laughing-girl"...as they say, high maintenance!!! You have to keep them laughing, keep them happy, no sad moments allowed. And when one moment of struggle, things don't go their way, or a wrinkle on their face appears...brother look-out! The storm is about to burst! In other words, the annual flower always fades.
Perennials, however, take time to grow. They are not quite to full bloom during those Jr High and High School years...and that is tough. But remember, the roots are growing...
It is funny, when I was a youth pastor and I had a perennial girl in my group I would often tell her, "High School is a fantasy! Just hang in there until college, because that is when life will really begin!"
I want my daughter to be a perennial: Where she is self-sufficient, smart, having skills other than applying eye-liner and mascara. I want my daughter to know how to use logic in argument and not to just know how to smile for an Instagram. I want my daughter to wait for the right man who works hard to deserve her...and not to use sex and dating as a game.
I want my daughter to know her God!
I am going to a Men's Retreat this weekend, and while I am there I get to talk to men about being men. I love doing that...but even more rewarding than that is having the chance to raise my very own perennials!
What a gift! Daughters....love you girls!