Conversation with a Teen about Guarding Your Heart in Today's World, #95 podcast & blog
The world is bombarding our kids with false messages. Intentional Parents, we need to counter the culture's messages with truth. Click to listen to Episode 95.
A year ago, my second to youngest daughter, Abby, who was sixteen and a junior at the time, and I recorded a podcast episode that was intended to be published at that time. The topic was going to be about these eight books that I asked Abby to read before she turned 16. The books were about romance, dating, guarding your heart, preparation for marriage... all of that kind of stuff. My husband, Rich, and I like to have our kids read books on these topics to give us discussion opportunities to help them establish their standards regarding dating, romance, and preparation for marriage. We want them to have thought through all of these important topics BEFORE they get in the midst of emotional situations that could cloud their judgment.
One thing that I like to encourage my kids to do is not get ALL CONSUMED with romance in junior high and high school.
Middle school and High school are great times for growing and becoming. What do I mean by that? When I say "becoming," I think of our kids like caterpillars that are in the process of becoming butterflies. I don't want them to be so focused on catching a guy or girl's eye that they forget to focus on becoming who they were designed to be. There's much DISCOVERY that awaits them in the process of becoming their own unique, designed-by-God person!!
We encourage them to PUT THEIR MIND ON ✔developing their interests, ✔exploring career path ideas, ✔increasing their work ethic, ✔having lots of serving and volunteering opportunities, ✔increasing their knowledge, ✔expanding their world and worldview, ✔having great experiences in different organizations and missions, ✔growing in their leadership skills. ✔developing their unique talents and interests, ✔refining their character and lifestyle habits, ✔mastering the art of communication skills to effectively articulate their unique thoughts that the world needs to hear, ✔to develop healthy relationships first at home, then with friends and peers and teachers and employers. Then they may really know how to do relationships well and may be at place in life where they ✔know how to have self-control to make decisions that are the best option no matter what they feel like doing. Until they have really grown a lot in these ways, they just may not be ready for romance.
There’s too much at stake in romance before they’ve developed self-control, self-worth, critical thinking skills, handling themselves in a crisis, withstanding pressures around them and within them.
Just because the world all around is bombarding our kids with images of romance in every tv show and song and movie, does not mean it is what their lives should be focused on yet.
The world around your kids is saying that their value is in who has a romantic interest in them and whether they catch someone’s eye.
Girls are learning the art of manipulating boys and boys are learning the art of manipulating girls and these are not skills I want my kids to learn.
If I want my kids to recognize their worth that they are highly treasured, that their hearts and bodies are worth honoring AND if I want my kids to treat others as highly treasured - their hearts and minds and bodies - then I need to help them to slow down, look objectively and see that there will be lots of time in the near future for romance. But first is preparation for it.
If you can help them wait longer than their peers around them then, before long, their peers will be coming to them asking for advice and sharing their heartbreaking stories. Your kids will be seeing real life warnings and cautions regarding how not to do romance.
By the time they’re in late high school there are may be some legitimate potential romantic relationships for our teen and us to navigate. The cool thing is that when they’ve waited until the older teen years to even consider these types of relationships, they are so much wiser, level-headed, and they’re able to have relationships that are much more measured, and handled with care rather than recklessness. They have observed a lot of teen romance relationships around them that have caused a lot of heartbreak and regret that they have personally avoided.
What you’re about to hear in this podcast episode was recorded a year ago with the intent of publishing it then. But as we made this episode, God was also showing me a lot of controversy in society today about the purity movement and people, including many parents, who had experienced a lot of hurts. I wanted to understand their perspective and their hurts before I moved forward with too much on this topic. You see, God has called me to minister to all mamas, not just the ones who have had similar life to mine or who think just like me. I want to be able to encourage and equip effectively all moms in their worthy journey of motherhood.
I understand, after researching and praying for a year about this topic, I understand that you may not share my parenting philosophy that I give in this episode, but I would ask that you at least spend some time praying about what God’s heart is on the topic of your child’s heart and how to handle it with care. I trust that He will lead you into the best options and perspectives for your family. Click Here to listen to Episode 95
In the recording, we were going to discuss these eight books about dating & romance, but you will hear that I asked a discussion question to Abby before we got into the book reviews. She wasn’t expecting the question and while she tackles the issue so well in the discussion that follows, you can clearly hear her mood change, which is very telling of just how difficult the issue was in her life at the time (side note - next week's episode is a continuation of the conversation a year later and you'll be so encouraged to hear what a difference a year makes!) I hope that this discussion will prompt some prayerful thought in you as you and your kids navigate these issues. This is part one of our discussion.
What's Coming Up on the Podcast: *Part 2, "Waiting with Grace - dating and love and romance and marriage... The conversation with a teen continues." Episode 96
* "WHY & HOW I Homeschool" I'm about to begin my 24th year of homeschooling and lots of moms ask me WHY & HOW I homeschool, so I'm going to tell you! I'll answer questions like, "What are the pros & cons?" "What do you do with the littles when the bigs need detailed lessons?" and lots more....
*Becoming a VOLUNTEERING Family - for the joy, for the character development, for the worldview perspective with guest Debbie Smith
*The 100th Episode!!!
Other Podcast Episodes about the topic of teaching our kids about Romance, Dating, Marriage:
Earlier episodes that deal with this topic:
Episode 22 - Are We Going to Teach Our Kids that Sex is Sacred?
Episode 72 - Teach Your Kids the Truth About Love