This Breaks My Heart

I came across a video shared on my Facebook newsfeed today. If you haven’t seen it, or don’t feel like watching it, I can summarize it by saying it’s basically three moms partying at Target after sending their kids off to school for the new school year. The video begins with a mom kissing her daughter goodbye and telling her, “I love you so much!” Yet, she cannot even finish turning around before following it up by mouthing a silent but emphatic, “YES!!!” as her daughter leaves. She then joins two other moms and they head off to Target to celebrate their newfound freedom. 

I may be burned alive at the stake for saying this, but I cannot hold my tongue anymore. Every single year I see my friends counting down until the end of summer break, SO thankful to be getting their “freedom” back. Year after year, parents dread the beginning of summer break and celebrate its end. Worse yet, I know many people who have no problem making sure their children know this as well. They’re basically saying to their kids, “I can’t wait for you to back to school 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week – and I cannot possibly be happier about being rid of you! Hooray!”

Look, I get that having kids is hard. Sometimes these little blessings make us want to rip our hair out. I understand that all parents need breaks from their children for the sake of their sanity. I get that, I do! Please do not think that because I homeschool, I have acquired some magical ability to never get frustrated with my children and never wish I could have a day off. I’m human just like everyone else, and I most definitely do have rough days. My children are also human, and sometimes they fight, whine, complain, bicker, you name it. But you know what? I truly like my kids! Even on their worst days, I have no desire to rid myself of them! I enjoy being around them. I cannot imagine sending my children away for about as long as my husband is gone for work each day and being thrilled about it. I would genuinely miss them.

Maybe I am misinterpreting things, but what I get from all these Facebook posts about the excitement parents have for the beginning of the school year is that they don’t like spending a lot of time with their children, and that’s why they are happy to see them go. Their kids frustrate them and tire them out, so they want the kids out of their hair for as long as possible, as often as possible. It’s that fact that makes me very, very sad. And it makes me especially sad for the children who are made to know it.

Why We Will Encourage Our Children NOT to Pursue Dating

The-Courtship

 

I realize that we are pretty old fashioned in our way of thinking, and I am certain that most “normal” people think we’re absolutely nuts, but after years of God working on our hearts, my husband and I have prayerfully come to the decision that we will not be encouraging our children to pursue dating. We will instead encourage them to consider courting as an alternative.

First and foremost, please understand that we are by no means forbidding them to date. The choice will ultimately be up to them. However, as they grow we will be teaching them the difference between dating and courting, and gently encouraging them to pray about courting and see where God leads them.

So now the big question… WHY?? It’s both very simple, and also rather complicated.

I don’t want my children to make the same mistakes I made. I have blogged about my testimony in the past, and in it I mentioned that I have gone “too far” in past relationships without being married. I am not the least bit proud of those choices, but I did learn from them. Possibly the most important thing I learned is that when two young people who are attracted to one another spend large amounts of time alone together, bad things tend to happen – things that are designed to be enjoyed strictly within the boundaries marriage. One of the tenets of courting is that the couple spends time getting to know one another with others around, so as to maintain accountability and uphold their mutual desire to remain pure until marriage. My children, although young, already show a great love of the Lord and a desire to be obedient both to the Lord and to my husband and myself. I have no doubt that they will want to save themselves for marriage. I am also certain that they will seek out potential spouses that will share that desire. The whole concept of courting respects the wish to maintain purity until marriage, and involves friends and family who will help the young couple stand by that ultimate goal.

The other big reason I have become a proponent of courtship versus dating is that it involves the families of the couple. When I married for the first time, I was impulsive and foolish, and I paid the price for that. I did not seek to involve my family in the decision to marry. I realized after that fact that if I had, it may have saved me a great deal of loss and heartache. Our family knows us better than we know ourselves. We may get caught up in the feelings of a new relationship and lose sight of what’s important to us. We can be blinded by love to the extent of not being able to see clear warning signs. Involving family in our romantic relationships not only maintains accountability, but it also keeps us grounded. My husband and I would like to be a part of that process. While we certainly do not intend to make the decision for our children, we do have a great desire to get to know these marriage candidates and to have an open relationship with our children, where our children can hear our input and where they feel free to discuss their concerns with us.

Courting is intentional, as opposed to dating which is often times extremely casual. Also, we will encourage our children not enter into a courtship before they are mature enough to handle a serious relationship. Unlike dating where you tend to get to know the person on a deeper level after becoming committed and emotionally involved (and, often times, physically involved), courtship works the opposite way. You get to know the person on a friendship level first; then, if there is a bond, you enter into courtship where you begin to get to know the person on a deeper, more intimately emotional level. If in fact the relationship is meant to lead to marriage, then engagement and marriage will follow. Only after marriage do you get to know the person physically.

I think the thing that I love the most about courtship is that it supports the values we cherish as a family, while helping our children to find the spouse that God has intended for them. It’s a beautiful, pure, edifying, and God-glorifying thing, and we look forward to the time when our children enter that season of life.

Mr. Matt Walsh Delivers Again!

Have I ever expressed just how much I love Matt Walsh? This guy speaks truth in the most refreshing way. He’s witty, intelligent, sarcastic, but also dead-on every single time. Here’s a snippet from his most recent blog post entitled “Your life is over when you have kids”:

“It’s not my life. It’s hers, it’s his, it’s theirs, it’s ours. Ultimately, it’s His, and He has given it to them. So my life — MY life — is over.

“This is true. This is beautiful. This is why parenting is a high calling.

“And this is exactly why our society hates children.

“No matter what anyone else says, THIS is why we’re experiencing historically low birth rates. It’s got nothing to do with an economic crisis, and everything to do with a selfishness crisis. This is why we dehumanize children, kill them, exterminate them. This is why we have less of them, and why we call birth control a “preventative medication.” It’s why couples who choose (note: I said CHOOSE) not to have kids will often refer to themselves as ‘child-free’ — much like a recovering patient might call himself cancer-free.

“We run around putting ‘my’ in front of things that cannot be ours. It’s MY time, MY life, MY body. And then we conceive a child and we simply can not let go of the “MY.” Barney and Mr. Rogers failed in their mission to teach us about sharing. We kill a million babies a year just because we don’t want to share.”

Does this guy get it, or what?! Check out his whole blog post here. Read more of his blog, while you’re there! I promise, he does not disappoint! I’m telling you, every time I read something he writes, I feel the sudden overwhelming desire to give the man a standing ovation.

Matt, thanks for speaking the truth. Keep up the good fight!