In the previous three posts, I outlined my own experiences. In this one, I am considering what I want to teach my children. Frankly, I am a bit wishy-washy. Bill Gothard would have a nice, neat explanation of how my standards are lukewarm, complete with a nifty little alien drawing. While I am grateful for much of what I was taught, I am not sure what I want to pass on to my kidlets.
* The whole idea of waiting for a relationship that has the probable outcome of marriage. Eh, maybe. I definitely want my kids to be honest always, with themselves, with the person they are dating and with God. I do want them to be careful with their own hearts and with the hearts of others. At the same time, I think that there are valuable things to learn in all relationships, and that the whole notion of courtship can result in the exact same pressures and pain that happen in any dating relationship. There may actually be great value in a relationship where there is more freedom for them to look at things objectively and walk away without feeling that they are breaking a commitment.
* Physical involvement. My answer is pretty much the same as to the previous part. I am all for honesty and restraint. I believe that the Bible does reserve sex as God's amazing wedding present. I've also known people who didn't even kiss until their wedding. That is hard for me to wrap my mind around. I pretty much come down to a lot of the gray areas being between the individuals and God. And really, temptation levels vary so much. There were times when I could enjoy making out tremendously but not feel tempted to take it any further. Other times, just being in the same room with Carlos required self-control.
* The Father and The One. You can probably guess where I stand on this. I've already mentioned my views on patriarchy. I think that family involvement is great. It helps with the whole honesty and accountability aspect, and I think that the opinion of one's family is important. However, I also believe that God speaks directly to the individual couple. Families can have a skewed and unobjective opinion here, just like with any other issue. As for the whole concept of The One, I am not so sure. I certainly can't imagine being married to anyone else other than Carlos. However, I do think that successful marriages can be built with more than one potential person.
* What this means in concrete terms. I don't know. I don't know what parameters I would set with our children exactly, as far as age or type of dating or whatever. I imagine that it will be an ongoing discussion in many ways. I'm glad that I have a little time to talk and pray and think about it. Those of you who have noticed how many soap boxes I tend to mount in parenting, here is your chance! Influence me! ;)