This week our pastor spoke to the singles crowd in the house. He talked about how the whole single’s scene that the world has to offer just isn’t working. As a mom of three teenagers, my ears perked up to listen. We opened up the book of the Song of Solomon (Quite a steamy book of the Bible) and looked at what it said about young women.
Chapter 8 in the Song of Solomon talks about a young sister (much like my daughter of fourteen) who should be as a wall without a door. Protected. Pure. And that such a girl is rewarded with silver. But it also talks about the girl who is like a door. Many boys pass in and out of this door, but even this girl should be protected, and if she won’t do it herself a cedar wall is built for her. (Cedar is typically thought of as a wood used to protect things.)
Purity is the end goal. Either she seeks this for herself, or it is secured for her. I am often so surprised at how quickly parents are willing to offer up their daughters to the young men around them, and how much young men are encouraged to seek out relationships with different young women. We would never let them buy a car without our help, but when it comes to dating, too often we send them out on their own to kick the tires- so to speak- without us.
When I was a young woman, I was a serial dater. Most people I knew were serial daters, too. That meant that you dated someone until it “just wasn’t working out”, and then you dated someone else until it “just wasn’t working out”, and so on.
This has been the method of courtship in America for the last fifty years or so. And considering how high the divorce rate is, it’s not working. It has been said that when we do this we are not practicing for marriage as we all thought, we were practicing for divorce. How many times have you heard someone say of his or her former marriage, “It just wasn’t working out”? The court calls it “irreconcilable differences”. What we practice well, we perform well. Once again, as believers, we need to be reminded that this world has nothing to offer us.
So often these days we send our kids out to meet young people to date that we do not know personally. Our son or daughter dates first one stranger and then the next, eventually bringing one to us and presenting them as “the one”. Remember the movie, “Meet the Parents”? By then, it’s a done deal and we, the parents, who know this child like no other this side of heaven, just get to sit back and nod politely and hope for the best.
As parents, we have got to tell our children there is another way. They don’t have to be serial daters. They don’t have to go out with first this one and then that one and practice divorce. Instead of pushing our kids to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, teach them to first become the person they should be. Then, as parents, be involved in the relationships they do have. Let the person your son or daughter is spending time with date your whole family. See how they fit into the mix. Teach your son how to treat his date and teach your daughter how she should be treated. Dad, take your daughter on her first date. Show her how she should expect to be treated and teach her to accept nothing less.
My pastor shared a story from his own youth. He said he was once told to consider the young woman he was going to take out on a date as someone else’s future wife. And that someone else was likely taking his future wife out on a date. He should treat the girl he was taking on a date in the same way he would want that other guy to treat his future wife. (In other words, hands off!)
Dating should only occur under the best of circumstances, and the best of circumstances for a teenager is under the watchful eye of parents. Encourage healthy friendships and foster a Biblical view of dating. If there was ever a time to be a meddling parent, this is it.