Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I Want My Kids to Know about Dating in High School

This has been a long time coming. I guess since I had one boyfriend in high school, I am
basically the Jedi Master on the topic - all things considered. I joke. But I've had enough
folks ask me about my thoughts on the matter, I figured I'd make it official and POST.

I have to prelude this with a significant disclaimer - in the likely case that some hundred
people (give or take) who knew me and said boyfriend in high school are reading this.

I honestly don't think that a more "ideal" dating situation for two 17 year olds could be
constructed. We were both homeschooled, from big families, with solid formation and strong
convictions in the morality department. Obviously, we went our separate ways 2 years later,
but I wouldn't say that it was a "failed" relationship or one that I "regret".

I just wish I had been able to see the big picture.

It was a small chapter of my life; one that God allowed to be written for one reason or another.
The relationship definitely changed me. Not for the worse or anything, but that's what happens,
right? People leave an impression - and that's why I don't "regret" the whole thing. I mean it
plays a part in who I am today. And thus a POST is born. There you go.

You know, my parents were right though. I love admitting that NOW, but at the time I would
have cried them an ocean of estrogen if they would have ACTED on what they tried to tell me.


They also had all these other crazy ideas about "courtship" and "chaperoned encounters"
in the living room which I promptly poo-pooed all over because "we are NOT the Duggars!"
Luckily they didn't push that agenda, but I had to share because it wasn't funny then,
but it sure is funny now!

Anyway. I digress.

Here are the 3 things that I want my own kids to know about dating in high school...

1.) FRIENDS. Focus on friends. Guys friends - gal friends - ENJOY EVERY SINGLE MINUTE.
Take advantage of those "non romantic" relationships to learn about who you really are
and want to become.
I think it's hard to concentrate on others around you when you are
raging with adolescent hormones. Am I wrong? I mean, when you're "in love", you eat, sleep,
breathe that interest. More or less - depends I guess.

But spend the weekends with your friends - eating Ben and Jerry's out of the carton
and having lip-syncing contests with hairbrush microphones. Or if you're a boy, do whatever
boys do?! Make fire, shoot some tin cans, eat an entire convenient store worth of potato chips?
You catch my drift.

You will have the REST OF YOUR LIFE to spend with your spouse. Wait for it. Just be.

2.) FUTURE SPOUSE. Speaking of "your spouse" - PRAY FOR THEM. Know that if you are
called to dating and marriage that it is waiting for you. Dating in high school may or may not, but
most likely, present opportunities that weigh on the virtues of purity and chastity. It's a lot
to deal with even OUTSIDE OF HIGH SCHOOL - let alone when you're dealing with those raging
hormones I was talking about above. Not worth it. Don't carry that challenge until you are
good and ready.

Not that my kids will care or want to mimic me, but writing letters to my future spouse was
SO GOOD for my own heart. Definitely made me "think twice" about who I dated and how I carried
myself in those relationships. My future spouse was REAL to me. You will NEVER regret honoring
them in all ways.

3.) JESUS. He has a PLAN FOR YOU in your singleness - things that He wants you to
accomplish without a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or children attached. Look for it, love it, live it!
Whether that's school, mission work, ministry, etc. I don't know. But I DO know that you should take
advantage of the season and be fully alive in the joy of that. You might still do school, mission work,
ministry, etc. WITH your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or children someday (and it will be beautiful!),
but love the moments before and hold nothing back.

But I think making decisions about what comes after high school will be easier, more clear,
more of WHO YOU ARE and less of WHO "WE" ARE without a significant other in the picture.
You've gotta do what YOU are called to do before you say "I DO!"

Jesus dreams BIG for you. Give Him your hands, your heart - always do HIS will.
Momma can't argue with that.

People have asked me if I'll let my own kids date in high school. I have no plans of stopping
them at the moment. But you can bet they'll have to "hear it all" from their mother just in case
they might be swayed. If THAT fails, I may have to try scaring them away from the idea with
some of those "living room courtship" ideas my own parents had for me! Wink.

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  1. Well said! I went to a Catholic HS, and participated in sports, glee club, musical and I loved it! But then I got boyfriend my junior year. I still participated in all those things, but my
    BF was My LIFE! I'm not sure whether or not I regret the relationship, because it was a big chunk of my life and what happened with it definitely made me who I was when we broke up. But I definitely regret who I was in the relationship. I stopped hanging out with friends, I let temptations get the best of me, my personality changed, my self-image became sour, I lost tons of weight and developed an eating disorder. This was not at all his fault, but mine. I know now looking back that I was NOT emotionally mature enough to be in that type of relationship in HS. Before the relationship I did all those fun girly things with my friends and hung out
    With guy friends playing video games, going to concerts at the local coffee shop to see some of our guy friends who had put a band together play music. I was do happy and had fun! My serious BF changed that, it changed me. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't be affected like I was with a
    BF or GF in HS, but I will do my best to guide my kids like you suggested in this post. The good thing that came out of my relationship was that I finally realized who I wanted to be and who I didn't want to be once I went to college and wasn't spending every moment with him. I grew so much in my faith and realized there were other people out there who cared about the same things I did. When we broke up I felt more free than ever in my life. Less than a month later I started dating my now husband. With my experiences, I hope and pray my children will be able to wait to have a serious relationship until after high school. It sure is tough being a teenager! Glad I don't have to do it again myself!

    1. Wow, Mia-- what a load. Yea definitely, each person/situation is SO different. I mean I totally know "high school sweethearts" that are happily married now. It just depends. And God's will, right? We just never know what He's calling others to.

      But your testimony here makes sense - and I could not agree more about not being able to process, handle, etc. the emotions/hormones of an adolescent relationship. *raises hand* - I know I couldn't do it very well... if at all! Lol.

      Lol. I'm glad to be on the other side as well! Cheers to marriage!!! XO

  2. I so agree, I spent so much time with Douglas & wish I would have spent more time with my friends

    1. That's right! You guys were high school sweeties, right!? I hear ya, though :-)

  3. Ugh, my biggest regret is spending any time whatsoever in my life with boys in general. What I would give for that free time now!! ;)

    1. Lol. Me too! Give me the freeee time!!!! So funny-- my kids will probably think I am CRAZY when I suggest waiting to date until after high school. Those hormones - driving adolescents like moths to a light bulb! Good times. Live and learn, amen?!


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