Dating: Hobby vs Purposeful
Dating…fun or challenging? Now or later? Why or why not? Group or one on one? Him, really? Her, really? All these questions can come to mind as we aim to guide our kids in dating. Mark gives us solid, practical truth to hold fast to as we navigate this stormy sea with our kids! Another great re-run!
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31
How simple it would be if successful relationships only required giving that special someone a chocolate kiss then all was bliss! However the everyday ups and downs of dating can be super complex and tough to navigate.
How are your kids being coached in this minefield?
Below is some of the wisest advice I was given – just wish I had heard and heeded it sooner!
1. Who should be coaching them? YOU! Dad, take the lead hand in hand with mom – no one else cares and wants to protect your child more than you!
2. When to start telling them? YESTERDAY! Way before other kids, movies or their emotions start kicking in, kindergarten is not too early (seriously)! You want to be the one shaping their mind rather than trying to steer, stop or reverse a revving engine headed down the track with no moral guardrails or brakes.
3. What to say about dating? “WARNING, BEWARE, ROUGH RAPIDS AHEAD, TURN AROUND NOW!” Take your pick. Though I’d also suggest the following which have been foundational for our family.
A. The Bible doesn’t mention the word dating which in my mind (and in my youthful experience) is a very culturally self-seeking concept (what do I get out of it: pleasure, popularity, self-esteem, etc.). Instead of viewing dating as a hobby to dabble with or a sport to conquer in, let’s raise our kids with a “courtship” mentality which looks towards determining who God has for me to marry (biblical marriage being a continual act of laying down your life for the other).
B. Secondly, ensure your kids that when they’ve reached the right maturity (rather than age based), you will help them to not merely make an emotional decision or one based on infatuation, but also one that considers them being “equally yoked” (2 Cor. 6:14) as well as other factors a parent can help perceive to be important in who they date.
C. Lastly, teach them that “Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, do it all to the glory of God”. So whoever we are spending time with, friends, teachers, siblings or that special someone, we should love God first and foremost and then love others second which always means putting others’ needs ahead of our wants!
Whether you’ve ever “dated” someone or just thought about it, what are some honest reasons that have made you interested in doing so? How do you think those line up with how God tells us to live our life according to the greatest commandment (verse at the top)? If you really think God and your parents want what’s best for you, ask them for advice on “dating”.