Well, my oldest son was asked to “Girl’s Choice” by a really, really great girl at his high school… So, here we are. It isn’t that I thought this day would never come–I knew it would come. I’ve looked forward to when my children would be old enough to date. It is one of the fun parts of high school. It just kind of came pretty fast, that’s all.
We’ve talked a lot about dating, my oldest and I. The prophets have long taught that the appropriate age to start dating is 16 (I realize not everyone feels that way, but we’ve found some pretty great blessings when we’ve followed what our prophets have taught), and my son is weeks away from that. The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet has quite a bit to say about dating (again, pretty wise invitations there). We’ve studied that kind of stuff and I know my son is excited for this part of life and knows what the Lord expects out of a young man who is old enough to date.
Still, knowing that his first date is a few weeks away, I thought I’d email a few thoughts to him. I hope he adds these bits and pieces to what he already knows. Here’s the email I sent, almost word-for-word (with his permission, of course):
Here are some thoughts to consider before your first date/dance:
- If you’re invited on a date by a girl, give her a reason to be thankful she asked you. What can you do to make her feel good about her efforts to plan a fun date for you and friends? What can you do to help her know that you enjoyed the date and that you’re glad she asked you?
- Every girl deserves to feel safe on a date: safe from accidents and safe from sin and temptation and safe from things she is uncomfortable with. Your job is to work with her to provide that safety.
- Every girl deserves to feel good about herself on a date. Sometimes when groups get together on dates the boys, trying to be funny, start making fun of girls. Everyone laughs, but inside, the girl doesn’t really actually like to be made of.
- Every girl deserves your attention on a date. She shouldn’t have to compete with a cell phone or another person in the group or the activity you’re participating in. She doesn’t want you to fall in love with her, but she does want you to show her appropriate attention during the date.
- Every girl deserves to have fun on a date. You’re duty is to help make that happen.
- Every girl deserves to have a date with a good, cheerful disposition and attitude. If you’re not in a good mood for some reason, change your mood. She deserves it.
- Every girl should be thanked appropriately after a date, whether she planned it or you planned it. Time is an investment and she invested her evening on you. Thank her!
- Every girl has parents who have an expectation about dates. When does she need to be home? Are there activities they aren’t comfortable with? Are there “dating rules” for her? It is your duty to find these out and honor them.
- One of the most important things to remember about dating as a teenager is that you’re not looking for a spouse. You’re not looking for a girlfriend. This isn’t the time for a drama-filled life. You’re working on becoming a great young man who will one day be a great boyfriend, fiancee, spouse and father. But those things are in the future. No need to rush. Have fun, make choices you’re proud of, and help the young women around you have experiences they can be proud of.I’m excited about this part of life for you and have all the confidence in the world that you’re going to look back on this time of your life with very, very happy memories because of good, fun choices! I love you! If you weren’t our son, and we had a daughter your age, we would be honored to have you take her on dates!Dad