Teen girl learns to be brave on her terms

January 12, 2012|Lisa Prejean

"I don't think I can do this," my daughter commented as she nervously looked over her notes. "I don't like standing up in front of the class and making a presentation."

I assured her that she would be fine. She wouldn't be the only one giving a book report. All her friends would be participating in this activity. They could share in this experience.

Besides, she had a story to tell about a really good book, and she should want to share her story with her friends. They would enjoy hearing what she had to say.

The book she read was "Pirate of My Heart" by Jamie Carie. Set in England in 1777, the novel introduces the reader to Kendra, a beautiful girl whose mother dies in childbirth and whose father is later killed in an accident.

Forced to marry a man of her uncle's choosing or travel to America to live with unknown relatives, Kendra chooses the latter. The sea voyage is filled with intrigue and romance. Of course there is a strong captain who defends Kendra's honor. And what sea voyage would be complete without a pirate attack?

Once she had presented her book report to me a few times, I think she felt more confident and at ease.

"See, sweetheart? You'll be fine," I said assuredly as I moved on to a household task.

She looked like she wasn't so sure, but it was time for her to move on, too.

A little while later we were working in the kitchen packing lunches for the next day.

"Mom, did you hear about President Obama wanting to reduce our military forces?"

Now there was a comment that made me pause. Hmmm. She's taking in everything she reads, not just in novels, but in the newspaper, too.

"If he does that, who will protect us?" she asked, her eyes wide.

Her reaction did not surprise me. We've taught our children to respect the military and the veterans who have given so much for our country.

I told her I don't think Americans will allow the president to diminish our military to the extent that our national — or personal — security would be in danger.

"But does he know how we feel about this? I think I should tell him."

I smiled and told her to go right ahead and try. March down to Pennsylvania Avenue and request, as a teenage girl, an audience with the president.

She said she just might do that.

As I watched her walk out of the room, I was baffled.

There goes the same little girl who was bemoaning the task of delivering a book report in front of junior-highers. Now she was talking about a tete-a-tete with the president?

By the time I figure out my teenagers, they won't be teenagers anymore.

Hey, have you read any good books lately?

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