Maybe it’s true that wisdom comes with age. I’m almost forty-six, so it’s about time I gained some wisdom, I guess. I’ve learned a few things about my enemy here in the last little while. I’ve heard it’s wise to be wise to the ways of your adversary. Until recently, I didn’t give him his just due. I didn’t recognize just how surly and evil he is.
I have learned that his best and most brilliant talent is tampering with the truth. His expertise is taking a truth, and carefully, patiently whittling it into something untrue. Yet the metamorphosis of the truth into an untruth is so subtle, that unless we are diligently paying attention, we come to accept his version of the truth as actual truth. At this point I think I need to cut to my point, or I may lose you altogether, if I haven’t already.
Let’s talk dating. The way young people enter into social and romantic relationships has changed drastically over the last fifty years or so. What used to be admiration from afar has quickly become up close and personal. When my parents were teenagers, their parents were the keepers of all things relational for their teens. If a young man showed interest in my mother, he had a tough road to get to her. He had to go through my grandfather first. Good luck with that. My grandfather was my mother’s shield of protection, and he took that job seriously. He remained that shield until my mother married. Then both spiritually and literally, my grandfather gave my mother to my father, and he then became her shield of protection.
Fast-forwarding to today, just a mere fifty or so years later, my own children are teenagers. Things have changed so much. Many parents have let go of the responsibility they have to be that covering for their children, both male and female. Dating is encouraged even in middle school. Elementary aged children have boyfriends and girlfriends. Really?
We are putting our children into social and relational situations they are not nearly mature enough to handle. We step aside, too busy with our own lives, and allow them to make decisions regarding with whom they will spend time, and invest in emotionally, without setting limits that will allow them to proceed with success. So when their hearts are broken, all we can do is be there with a ready shoulder for them to cry on. We allow them to bounce from dating relationship to dating relationship, and all the while they get really good at ending relationships, but never quite so good at keeping them.
The enemy is destroying our kid’s ability to invest in healthy relationships because he has convinced us that parents having control over how and when our kids enter into social and emotional relationships is just too old school.
Gone are the days when a young man had to get through the father before he got to date the daughter. Gone are the boundaries that set younger relationships up for success.
One of my sons recently announced that he was going to meet up with a girl at the movie theater. He said it wasn’t a date, although he was considering the possibility of dating her. Okay, but things change quickly, and what might have started out as a platonic situation during the previews, could very easily end up something quite different by the credits.
When my husband questioned the wisdom of this endeavor, and asked what this young lady’s parents thought of their daughter going to a movie with a young man they had never met, our son told us that her parents were not as strict on those things as we were.
My husband was quick to tell him, that even though this girl’s parents had differing ideas, she would still be treated the same way that our daughter would be treated in the same situation. As it turned out, they didn’t see a movie. Instead, they went to lunch, and had a conversation. Out in the open. Not in a dark movie theater. Who talks in a dark movie theater anyway? A lunch date was a much better way for our son to determine if there was enough of an interest in this girl to then approach her parents about a dating relationship. So far, there isn’t.
It’s true that if you tell a lie long enough, you can believe it is true. That’s what our enemy is counting on. He has told us a lie about teens and dating for long enough that parents are just throwing up their hands in surrender and saying, “What are we supposed to do?”
We are supposed to be parents. We are supposed to be that spiritual covering that keeps our kids from venturing into relationships they cannot possibly be ready for. We can’t fall for the lies. Our kids need us too much.