In the fading twilight, the headlights of an approaching car reminded Bill to reach for the dashboard and turn on his lights.As the horde of rush-hour cars streamed by, Bill reminisced about the teenage daughter he had just picked up from band practice.
Usually Bill and his daughter made small talk on their brief ride home. Bill was concerned about the growing emotional distance between them. for now.” A tense silence filled the car as it eased forward and stopped in the driveway.* Bill is definitely a courageous dad, pressing into a relational hot spot where most parents fear to tread.
Sure, he knew this gap was normal for teenagers and their parents. “Okay,” he replied, “I’ll take that for an answer . Although it’s uncomfortable, he’s definitely on the right track.
He had prayed for an opportunity to talk to her alone—without her three brothers around. “Oh, okay,” Julie replied, in cryptic teenage fashion. “Have you thought through how far you are going to go, physically, with the opposite sex? They wanted to encourage her to make the right ones. He knew his wife always got the mail, but Julie was acting like a basketball team ahead by one point in the fourth quarter, hoping the clock would run out. Our teens do not go out on a date every Friday and Saturday night.
She looked nonchalantly out her window as their car crossed a small bridge. “I would like to ask you a very personal question and give you the freedom not to answer if you don’t want to.” He paused, waiting for her reply. Our junior high and high school age teens don’t date anyone exclusively.
But he wasn’t ready yet to surrender his role as a parent. Just what role should parents play to steer a child away from the traps in the most popular sport for many teens—the dating game? For us, dating or courting is a small part of the overall process of determining God’s will for discovering your life partner in marriage.
He hoped the conversation he was about to initiate would help close that gap. ” he asked, struggling to disguise the wobble he felt in his voice. Bill gripped the steering wheel and shot a glance into her eyes. Bill and his wife had talked before with Julie about God’s standards about sex, but soon she would be dating and making moral choices on her own. They were just a block from home, so gently but firmly, Bill pressed the final question: “Well then, would you mind telling me how far you intend to go? ” He stopped the car a few feet short of the driveway and feigned a look into the mailbox. If he had waited for a month, he wouldn’t have been ready for what she said. In our family the focus has not been on dating, but more on training our teens in their character and in how to develop a relationship with the opposite sex.
“Your mom and I just want to make sure you know what you stand for as you get old enough to date. We’re trying to train them to protect their emotions and not to send romantic signals to boys.
And when a young man sends romantic signals to one of our daughters, we’ve talked with him and tried to keep the relationship on a friendship level.
Bill smiled and probed: “You know, your mom and I have been talking about you and all those boys who call on the phone.” Julie squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. Instead, we are encouraging our girls who are still home to focus on the friendship side of their relationships with boys.
Realizing now where this conversation was headed, she rolled her eyes. When our girls do spend time with a boy, it’s in a group, not one on one.
When a child can date Giving a child the privilege of spending time with a member of the opposite sex is a freedom that is based upon our judgment of how responsible we deem this child to be. Is he strong enough to withstand peer pressure in a boy-girl situation?