MY daughter's high school junior prom has been over for months, but I can't stop thinking about it. For her it was the dance that almost didn't happen. Because no one had asked my 15-year-old to the prom - not the boys she had crushes on or the boys she deigned to be seen with - she decided not to go.

Sensing deep disappointment in her voice, I told her she wouldn't even miss it.

``Why?'' she asked.

``You and I will dress up, go to a fancy restaurant, and come home very late. Would you like that?''

``Yes,'' said the teen-ager to my surprise. And she hugged me like a friend.

Then after reserving a table by the window and paying to have my dress cleaned, a senior, who rarely talked to my daughter, called two days before the dance.

We were in the kitchen. She held one hand over the phone's mouthpiece and said, ``He's asking me to the prom. But I won't go if it will hurt your feelings.''

Trying to hide tears of pride building between my eyes, I said, ``Go! Tell him yes.''

After she hung up she beamed. ``He's on the tennis team. And he's short with dark hair just like me.''

``You'll be a beautiful couple.''

``Thank you for letting me go, Mom.''

After receiving another hug, I grasped how good it could feel to be stood up.

Her prom night reminded me of mine in the '60s, but there were some differences.

She was chauffered by a white limo; my date drove a brown Buick. She had her hair done professionally at a beauty parlor; I fixed my own French twist. She wore a silk, black blouse and skirt with flats; I wore a formal with three-inch heels, elbow-length gloves, and a satin purse dyed lavender to match my dress.

In her beaded bag I dropped an emergency phone call coin, just like my mother gave me. But hers was a quarter and mine was a dime.

Now when I picture how I looked long ago on that night, I have to ask myself, ``Would I have turned down a date for the prom to go out with my mom?'' Probably not.

And it occurs to me, despite all the sad things we hear about teen suicide, peer pressure, and drug abuse, that when individual lives are sifted and measured, perhaps this generation has come furthest - has more caring, more feeling, and clearer communicators. In the future my daughter's child may share the same consideration or show even more kindness to her when, as a mother, she tries to fill the social gap. Somehow each generation may be getting better and better than the last.

Elizabeth Beall

Park City, Utah

WHEN my husband was in the F.B.I. we lived in New York City. As my husband was seldom home, I was glad our apartment was across the street from a park. My little boy was then around four years old, and I took him to the park every afternoon.

One afternoon he found a long stick to play with. We brought it home, and he played with it for days, putting it behind the door every night.

One day while I was doing dishes I heard a snap from the living room. I went to the door expecting tears, knowing he had broken the stick. He was sitting on the floor holding a half in each hand.

He looked at me and smiled and said, ``Now I have two.'' Great philosophy, eh?

Florence G. Harwood

Paris, Ill.

If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. Sorry, there is no payment, and we cannot reply to all submissions, which become wholly the property of the Monitor and are subject to editing.

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