[The following column was printed in The Forum, North Dakota’s largest daily newspaper, on March 8, 2011. Reprinted with permission.]
At first, our roles were reversed. My 13-year-old daughter would plead her case, and I’d roll my eyes, even poke fun at her.
But lately, I’ve been singing a different tune.
The transformation took place during parent-teacher conferences after I’d mentioned my daughter’s obsession over the baby-faced singer. Her teacher’s response caught me off guard. “Oh, I think it’s great. It’s so safe, after all,” she said with maternal assurance.
It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment that Justin could be providing a distraction from real-life threats of premature love. What if my daughter’s “crush” on an unattainable subject was allowing her more time to work on her interior development while giving her someday-prince time to work on his maturity?
Suddenly, Bieber Fever made sense.
Part of our job as parents is to help guide our children to the right “someday” mate. Better to encourage an elusive alternative than a real-life, premature romance that’s likely to end in heartache or – worse yet – responsibilities our children are too young to accept.
So with renewed enthusiasm, I responded positively to my daughter’s phone text reading, “MOM, PLS BUY SOME TICKETS 4 NVR SAY NVR B 4 IT SELLS OUT!”
Several frustrating glitches occurred as I attempted to purchase online tickets for opening night of Justin’s new movie, but I knew what was at stake: a fun night for my daughter and more time for me to not have to worry about real dating.
By early evening, she and her girlfriends were dressed to the nines and ready to experience Dream Boat Justin on the big screen.
I texted the next day to ask if she’d enjoyed the movie. “BEST 2 HRS OF MY LIFE!” she replied.
I’m glad to have found a way to work the Justin Bieber thing to my advantage. At this point, he’s still fairly wholesome, and even better, far, far away.
Perhaps the only thing left to impress upon my daughter is a truth that keeps tugging at me even as she gushes over Justin: that she, not he, is the real sparkling jewel.
I say this not because I think she’s “all that.” I know her flaws and strengths better than anyone, as well as what is most likely to drive her future husband crazy, for better and worse. I say it because I’m her mother and she’s far more precious in my eyes than Justin ever could be.
As such, I also know it’s in her best interest to take her sweet time finding her future spouse.
True love will come eventually. For now, I shout out with the rest of the world’s teen girls, “I love you, Justin Bieber!”
Roxane B. Salonen works as a freelance writer and children’s author in Fargo, where she and her husband, Troy, parent five children. She blogs on family life at http://peacegardenmama.areavoices.com and http://roxanesalonen.blogspot.com/