Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I'm in trouble now!!!

I was at a meeting last evening where some parents were expressing their views on allowing their teenage children to date. The featured speaker was Heather Paulsen author of Emotional Purity. She was a gifted communicator, and I support 99% of what she spoke about. I will buy her book and use it for future reference and teachings. I'll write about that later. I was more disturbed by some of the views that were expressed by a parental panel after the speaker. All of the parents on this panel kept using the phrase, "no dating unless you are ready to get married." This statement makes absolutely no sense to me. I am probably going to get into trouble for stating my opinion on the subject, and I know there are some of you out there that may get offended by my "liberal" views on adolescent dating, which are hardly liberal, but what I would considered balanced. How is an individual ready to get married when they have no experience being in a relationship with a member of the opposite gender? It was referenced last evening that children needed to "have all of their ducks in a row" in order to be ready to be married, and therefore ready to date. I would like to know what these "ducks" are. Is it an age? Is it a job? Is it emotional maturity? All of these factors are important, but to assume that these "ducks" make one ready for marriage is naive. Marriage is a partnership, an intimate emotional relationship, and a constant interaction between two people. How do you prepare for this without ever having practiced? You can't just go to the DMV one day because you have "all your ducks in a row" (insurance, age, $, passed the written test) and get your driver's license. You have to have had experience behind the wheel.

I could write so much more, and maybe I will one day. In college I began to jot down notes about dating, and have labeled this series of notes, "The Four Knows of Dating." They consists, of

1) Knowing God
...and his command and design for relationships
2) Knowing Your Parents...and their desire and rules for relationships (and HONORING them)
3)Knowing Yourself...and how and when you are ready for relationships
4)Knowing Your Standard...and what you will invest physically and emotionally in relationships

Maybe instead of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", I will write a book "How I Hugged Balance and said Hello".

In one instance a parent shared about how here 21 year old daughter came to them recently and stated that she liked some one. The parents instructed her to have this young man have a conversation with her father. The dad consequently expressed that in order to date his daughter he had to be ready to marry her. At 12, 13, 14, and even 17, a parent should be involved and in charge of their children's romantic relationships. At 21? My job as a parent isn't to spoon feed my children for the rest of their life. My job is to give them a utensil and teach them how to use it.

7 comments:

sharonie said...

okay, I totally agree...I am so glad that our parents were one of the parents in our youth group that were for dating! Jason and I just talked on Sunday how we will be one of those parents. We strongly believe that our kids need to date and we will help guide them into healthy dating habits. Example(which makes me laugh) always have two feet on the floor and boys don't touch what the bathingsuite covers!

Joan said...

Bethany, I agree with you. You are absolutely right. We don't live in a society that has arranged marriages and it seems to me that these parents want to do just that. I would hope that we would raise our children to be wise and make good choices when they are young so they can make wise choices when it comes to the really inportant things. I understand the concern with dating and the temptations, etc but we will face temptations through out our lives we need to start somewhere. I don't believe we need to date lots of people and I don't think couples should spend lots of alone time together. Let's be balanced about it though. I love your four points. I believe that in order to be the Christians God expects us to be we need to know who He is, what His word says (about his character and his promises) and we need to understand who we are in Christ. When we have a grasp on this we will begin to impact the people and world around us in powerful ways. And we will be able to go into any relationship and stay faithful and pure.

By the way, when are you writing that book?

Angel said...

I agree 100%! And if any parent has a problem with that, then they need help!

Bethany Patrice said...

sharon...I can hear mom saying that now! I can remember her voice was always being in my head! But..that's what my her such a great mom. She guided, but didn't control.

Megan said...

I ALSO AGREE!!! AMEN SISTA!

Janna Banana said...

haha....the bathing suit comment and two feet on the floor is still being passed down b/c i definitely heard it from her as well. I think that that's a very valid point. Although Jp was my first serious boyfriend, I never would have been ready to be serious if I hadn't have had other crushes, dates, and short term relationshpips that taught me what I need in the opposite sex, what strengths I will look for. You don't just pick up a book without reading something about it on the back cover. Dating takes some experience...and this doesn't mean physical or that your child needs to be a free wanderer but simply that your child needs to be given opportunity with guidelines and parental involvement and support, to make such decisions and not just when you are ready to walk down the altar.

sharonie said...

I have a grand idea...why don't all of sisters travel and speak about dating.....that would be so fun!