I found out tonight that my 16 year-old daughter didn’t get any Valentines this Valentine’s Day. I jumped for joy and praised the Lord.
Lots of questions may be going through your mind. What’s wrong with you? Is it because you keep her locked up in a box with no human contact? Or, worse, are you one of those homeschoolers? Have you scared off all the guys?
What’s wrong with her? Is she a mean person with no friends? Does she have some rare communicable disease and live out her days in quarantine? Is she that ugly?
Yes, my wife and I homeschool our children (she does 99.9999% of the work). This article is not about homeschooling. Trust me and know that our daughter is a very intelligent, highly socialized and well-adjusted teenager. She loves hanging out with friends (both guys and girls), listening to an eclectic mix of music, and spending far too much time on social media. Oh…and she’s gorgeous, sings with the voice of an angel, is funny and quick-witted, and loves people well.
So…what’s the deal???
D-A-T-E as a four-letter word
The phrase we use in our household is “You marry who you date.” We encourage our kids to ask themselves a very significant question…Am I at a place in my life where I am ready to get married if I start dating the right person? If the answer is no, then we encourage strong same-sex friendships, co-ed group interactions and extreme caution with any sort of one-on-one interaction (even digital) with members of the opposite sex. If the answer is yes…that’s a different article for a different day.
Dating, especially at young ages, can cause multiple and unnecessary challenges. A non-exhaustive list includes:
- Hindering the growth of strong and meaningful same-sex friendships during formative years that aren’t charged with relational and sexual tension.
- Unconsciously training teens to be insincere and dishonest for the sake of impressing and pleasing their significant other.
- Undervaluing the importance of co-ed social interactions in groups where it’s easier to learn someone’s true personality and values.
- Speeding teens toward impossible situations of sexual temptation outside the bonds of marriage.
So…why no Valentines? Why aren’t guys flocking to her in spite of her parents’ draconian views? By the grace of God, and with a few bumps along the road, our daughter has taken these principles to heart. She is confident and passionate about her beliefs, a natural leader among her friends. With wisdom, grace, and maturity beyond her years, she has managed to stand firm in her convictions while building and maintaining good relationships with friends who think and act differently on these issues.
My daughter isn’t an anti-Valentine’s Day party-pooping messenger of fun-killing doom during the first half of February each year (she can hand out heart-shaped candy to her friends like a champ). Here’s the part that makes me jump for joy…her friends respect her for her convictions and know that all the hype surrounding Valentine’s Day isn’t what drives her passions. They know, even if it’s subconscious, that she is living life to the fullest…without red and pink cards with candy.
God is in Control
One day, as my daughter continues running with eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of her faith (see Hebrews 12:2), she will look to the right or to the left, God will amaze her, and she will see the perfect-for-her guy running hard after Jesus right alongside her. They will both be flawed and they will both stumble along the way but I can’t wait to see how God uses them to shake the world!