Can we talk about Prom?

Written by Laura Smith
Published on April 22, 2022

Prom. So much hype. So much stress. For boys, girls, and their parents. 

Guys these days are expected to create elaborate signs and come up with clever, unique ways to ask a girl to prom. They go through this whole process with the possibility of rejection hanging over their heads like a storm cloud. 

Girls feel pressure to find the “perfect” dress and shoes and do their nails and hair, or in many cases get their hair and nails done. Girls sit around waiting to be asked. Hoping to be asked. Internalizing what it means if they do or don’t get asked and by whom. 

Not to mention the corsage/boutonnière, tickets, prom pictures at a picturesque location where everyone can meet, the exorbitant cost of it all. And—”After prom,” which is a whole topic in itself. 

We live in this world where high school kids go to prom. But Christians, we’re not of this world. So how do Christian parents help their teens navigate prom season? 

It turns out that the Bible is packed with prom advice. Who knew? Here are three verses that can keep parents and teens anchored during prom season. 

3 verses to keep you anchored

1. Do not be conformed by the patterns of this world. Romans 12:12

I love how the Message translates this verse: 

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” 

As we consider the whole prom scene, let’s not just accept things as “that’s the way it’s done.” Instead, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and ask, “Is this really important? Or does culture just say that it is? Would it glorify God?”  

For example—the big dinner out before the dance. Is it important for your child to go to a restaurant, because dining out with friends is their happy spot and within your budget? 

Would your teen feel super comfortable there and shine light among friends? Or is the dinner out just expected? Would your high schooler be safer, happier, or both having their friends over to your house before the dance to share a meal? 

This doesn’t have to fall on you as another responsibility. It could mean ordering pizzas or making a simple taco bar, maybe even asking each teen to bring a different topping. The kids could be more relaxed, eat food they love at a lower cost, and without the stress of reservations, transportation, and expense. 

Most of the prom dresses out there seem like “culture dragging us down to their level of immaturity” and not exactly what God really wants our daughters to be wearing or our sons to see their dates wearing. 

My daughter tried on over thirty dresses. We ended up buying two. Returning them both and borrowing one from a friend that was gorgeous, hot pink, sparkly with a strappy back and a small slit up the side that kept her feeling covered, but glamorous. 

It. Was. A. Process. But so worth the extra time to find something that brought out my daughter’s beautiful self as God designed her without bowing to the world. 

We can look at every aspect of the prom experience through this lens of culture pleasing vs. God pleasing. 

2. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

As our kids are asking or hoping to be asked to prom it’s critical to remind them who they are. Our teens are chosen by the God of the universe (whether they get asked, rejected, go solo, or join a group of pals). 

God considers them royal (whether they pull up in a limo or you drop them off in your battered minivan). God sees our kids as holy. Not as kids who cave to peer pressure, but teens who shine light in dark spaces, who encourage others, and set a wonderful example by their actions.  

If we want our kids to believe this, we must believe this. 

We have to live like we are all the above and like our kids are all the above—chosen, royal, and holy. 

When we do, the stress about whose group who is in or who made prom court or who danced with who fades because our teens remember that they are loved and God’s prized possessions, no matter what transpires on any given night, even prom night. 

3. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Sometimes we wonder why our kids could be so worked up about if they’re going to invite this girl or that girl to prom or about how they’re going to wear their hair. 

Is it really that important? When you’re a junior or senior in high school, the answer is often, “yes.” 

But the Bible reminds us that Jesus wants to take all our worries. Not just the ones we think are important or our high schoolers think are important, but all of them. Encourage your kids to pray over their prom decisions, to ask God for both direction and peace, to calm their frayed nerves. 

And we as parents need to follow suit. We can ask God to protect our teens, help them make wise decisions, help them have fun, and surround them with healthy, positive friends.  

Trust in his ways

Turning to these three verses, sharing and praying them with our teens, reminds us God is in charge and how much he loves us and our high schoolers. 

We can talk to him about our prom situations and sagas, and trust in his ways, not the ways of culture. Doing so can relieve some of the prom drama (commonly known as prom-a) and remind our kids how loved they are no matter what does or doesn’t happen on the dance floor. 


Consider a few extra resources:

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Laura Smith

Laura L. Smith is the author of multiple books including the best-selling How Sweet the Sound: the Power and Promise of 30 Beloved Hymns. Smith speaks around the country sharing the love of Christ at conferences and events. She lives in the picturesque college town of Oxford, Ohio, with her husband and four kids. There you’ll find her running the wooded trails, strolling the brick streets, teaching Bible study, shopping at the Saturday morning farmer’s market, or going on a sunset walk with her family. You can pre-order Laura’s new book Restore My Soul: The Power and Promise of 30 Psalms here. Learn more about her at her www.laurasmithauthor.com  and https://www.instagram.com/laurasmithauthor/

 

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