Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG

Ok, I’m going to assume that Pam was being satirical in her comment in the last post – Pam, you get 27 points and a blueberry milkshake for freaking everyone out.  Way to keep us on our toes.   

It was really interesting reading thru everybody’s perspectives.  Some of you (like me) have probably seen your philosophies evolve over the years.  We are always learning, adjusting, being humbled, seeing success and *hopefully* altogether continually driven to God’s Word to see if our philosophies line up to what He has to say.

Here is what I could find in God’s Word about Christians arranging their children’s marriages  :: crickets chirping :: 

Here is what I could find in God’s Word instructing Christians about courtship vs. dating :: more crickets chirping ::    

Here is what I could find in regards to ankle monitors – ok, I was just seeing if you were paying attention. 

Here’s what we do know.  We know that God gave us the children that we have, and it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to train them up in the knowledge of God and His truth (His unfailing Word).  In regards to ‘method’ Romans 14 — I highly recommend it – talks about disputable matters and gray areas.  And our discussion would most definitely fall into that category.

It is an excellent benefit to have access to different testimonials and information / philosophies / ideas.  When we are able to discuss different methods and what has worked (or hasn’t worked), it opens up doors and broadens understanding, etc.  But just like any other ‘gray area’ – like the best way to ‘do school’ (unschool, classical, unit studies, workbooks, child directed, etc) we will come to different conclusions about how things should be done – and that is fine and dandy so long as it does not violate or run contrary to the clear and unquestionable commands of conduct in scripture. Still with me? 

So that’s my boring lead in to my own basic rundown of how we are approaching the dating issue.  Without further ado: 

·        All aspects of parenting begin with relationship.  If our children respect us, trust us and love us we (and they) will probably be successful in making right choices

·        The bottom line for us is not a ‘method’.  We have no idea of what our children’s marriage stories will eventually look like, but we know it is our job to teach them truth and guide them in wisdom every step of the way (and we know what it won’t look like —  more on that below)

·        As they become adults, if we do not already ‘have their hearts’ then it becomes a much harder process to ‘win them’ –and the liklihood of them doing something idiotic substantially increases

At this time, I can say with confidence that five of my six children are saved.  I believe they know God and desire to obey Him and honor Him.  I know this because they tell me all sorts of stuff that they would not tell me if Geoff and I did not ‘have their heart’.  Early on, I recognized that my kids have a sin nature and will struggle with all sorts of things that are real, and with ongoing temptations. 

We don’t have “A Talk”.  There was no “THOU SHALT BE PURE OR THOU SHALT BE KILLED DOWN DEAD” speech.  We talk with them constantly (especially our boys) of the things we know that goes thru their heads.  They see billboards of nearly naked women, they see the magazines in the checkout lines and we tell them we know they struggle with thoughts after seeing those things because their bodies were created to grow up and get married – and it is a temptation common to ALL men.  I don’t condemn them for being tempted.  And they tell me (more often than I expect) when they struggle with thoughts, or bad dreams, etc.  That’s our job as parents. They have questions and we tell them the truth about everything.  

We also coach them, and hold them accountable, on how to deal with the deluge of pornography, perverts and predators that pervade this modern day culture.  We read Proverbs a LOT.  It talks about the ***** who tries to catch men with her eyes and then devours them like bread.  We teach them all – very early – about the ‘eye games’ that boys and girls play.  It is very fun to be noticed and to be attractive and attracted to someone else.  Several people mentioned in the last post about ‘treating these other boys and girls as if they were somebody else’s spouse’.  We do the same thing.  We constantly tell them to guard their hearts, and we tell them WHY to guard their hearts.  They know about my own past.  They know about their dad’s past and the trials and trouble and pain it has caused us and others.  They know about their own struggles and the guilt it produces when their conscience isn’t clear. 

We appeal to their Christian nature and encourage them to strengthen traits that will make them a good spouse: faithfulness, diligence, perseverance, and most of all, a love for God, which will secure and safeguard their future marriage.

And I also tell them about the girls who make games of capturing guys with their charm (flirting).  The game is addictive and these girls do not stop playing after they get married.  They will play ‘the eye game’ with other men.  And I tell them about guys who play the same game — the ones who are always looking to see ‘who’s noticing them’ – these cool, charming fellows will continue to ‘charm’ after they are married. I tell them that no honorable, lovely good wife will choose a man like that — so they better start practicing now for the lady they will want to win.

I tell them stories of how their dad refuses to play the flirting game with anybody, and how if a girl looks at him or plays ‘the game’, he sends a clear message of displeasure and disinterest.  They see how their dad honors me by looking the other way when a provocative woman walks by. They see him confess when he struggles.  My boys want to be men like that, and my girls want to marry men like that.  We acknowledge that sin is very fun… and that’s why people are drawn to it.  It takes character and strength and a solid faith to ‘govern ourselves’. 

We also tell them that we are watching other boys and girls and that we make mental notes of who might be good candidates (just as other moms are watching them).  Sometimes they come and tell us who they think would make good candidates – and I have to say that even as young as some of them are, I have been impressed with those whom they esteem.  My boys notice young ladies who (in their words) “are like Coie”.  Someone who loves their parents, talks kindly to their siblings, always ready to help, respectful and ‘not a show off’ and who stays with groups of girlfriends instead of running around with boys.  And I tell them, “yep, I’ve noticed that girl and have thought the same thing; she may make a great wife.  Pray for her and pray for her husband, and do not dishonor her by thinking of her in any improper way”.  I have the same discussions with all of my daughters.  They are waiting for men who love God and know His word, who are hard workers, who aren’t flashy, men who are constant and faithful and who don’t gaze at girls or email /  spend large amounts of time with a girl (or groups of girls).  This is what they tell me they want, and it shows me they are going in the right direction.  I also strongly warn them against ‘romanticizing’ about anyone.  I know it is a struggle and those types of daydreams can really become hazardous. 

When our children were younger, we told all of them (in jest) that we would pick their spouses, and they believed it without a blink. Frankly, it always surprised me at how naturally they accepted it so I never really bothered to tell them I was only kidding. They seemed to find comfort in the fact that they wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Dippy took it all very seriously and asked questions like,

“How will you pick her?” 

ME: “Me and dad will probably find her at church”  

Dip: “How will you know she’s really a good girl and not just tricking you?”

ME: “Me and dad will sneak around her house every single night and spy on her

Dip: “Ok, good” 

As they get older, our conversations get a little more realistic and I don’t know that I’d have enough room to go over what we cover, but basically, because they love us and trust us, and because we all have such a tight relationship, we *all* have sort of come to the conclusion that “picking a spouse” will be a family affair. It just kind of evolved into what everyone sort of expects.  And they all talk about how the future spouse candidate is going to have to pass a gauntlet of Ig Sibling trials and tests before getting the A-OK.  It’s funny to hear them talk about it, and i think I pity the poor soul who will have to go thru the process. It will be fun to see how it all plays out.

Ok, this is way longer than I wanted.  Bottom line – God’s word is clear about purity, so that is our focus… how we can best achieve that and honor Him.   

Truth, Respect, Trust, Love, Guardrails = Solid family raising good decision makers

October 2nd, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

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