“The Decision,” Friend, Oct. 1997, 40–41
“I found you!” shouted Ellen* as she discovered me behind the shower curtain. Then she tagged me on the shoulder and ran off. I got up from where I was crouched and went downstairs. I was at my friend Ellen’s party. About six other fourth-grade girls were also there.
“I found everyone!” Ellen exclaimed from the family room.
“Dinner,” her mother called.
Soon all the girls and Ellen’s four-year-old brother, Kyle*, sat around the big oak table, eating pepperoni pizza.
“Who wants to watch a movie?” Ellen’s mother cheerfully asked when we were all done eating.
“Me!” all the girls chorused—except me.
“I picked it out, Ellen,” Kyle cried with excitement. “Remember? It’s the one where the guy sings in the bathroom.”
As Ellen’s mother put in the video, I asked quietly, “What’s it rated?”
“PG,” she said absently, sitting down.
“Well, I’m only allowed to watch G-rated movies,” I said.
“It’s OK,” Ellen’s mother reassured me. “It’s only rated PG because parts of it are kind of difficult for children Kyle’s age to understand.”
I turned away. I knew my parents did not want me to watch a PG movie. Ever since I could remember, we’ve had this rule in our family: We watch only G movies. Even my parents watch only G movies. We know that all PG movies have some bad words in them, or other things that don’t fit gospel standards.
My parents had also told me that even if I said I wasn’t going to say the bad words, the more I heard them, the more my mind would be filled with them until I said one by accident. But this was the first time I’ve ever had to make a choice about watching a PG movie with a bunch of friends around.
I left and went into another room. In a few minutes Ellen and three other girls joined me and asked me if I wanted to play a game. I shook my head and answered, “Not right now.” After thinking a little bit more, I decided I should play the game with them. I realized that making the decision to not watch the movie hadn’t really been very hard for me. I also found out that I had really made the decision to follow the family rules long ago.