It is now August 24th, in the year of our Lord, 2015…and today I am the father of three unique, beautiful, and amazing children. At the time of writing this I have two amazing daughters and one off the chain son. All of my kids are currently under the age of 8, and I figured I had some time before I had to have those hard and extremely awkward conversations with my children regarding the opposite sex.
The naive father in me wanted to believe that boys and girls would hold to the truths of cooties until they are at the very least 30, at which point I would then be fully prepared for any kind of talk about having crushes on a member of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, last night my dream world was invaded by my now 7 year old daughter wanting to “talk to me about something”.
I don’t care how old you are, or how old the person is coming to you – but when the phrase “I need to talk to you about something” is uttered – it strikes fear in even the strongest of hearts. I bet even Chuck Norris tasted his first sip of fear when his own children uttered those words to him. Well, maybe not…maybe he just told them to look into his beard for the answer and then roundhouse kicked them in the head causing them to have short term amnesia and to instantly forget what it was they came to tell him. At least, that’s how I imagine it probably went.
As I was saying, my oldest daughter came to me to tell me something. She had a crush. On a boy. On a boy who is 10 years older than her.
Immediately my heart seized up. Immediately my hands became sweaty, and my throat tightened. I was lacking oxygen to the brain. I had to come up with a response and fast! So I did what any good father would do and told her that boys are icky, and have cooties, and that if she kisses a boy it will cause her internal organs to rot away from the inside out as if she had just had a drink of acid.
OK, I didn’t say that. But, it was my initial instinct. You know the whole…lie to your daughter and run and hide in the bathroom until she turns 25 instinct.
Instead, I spoke to her about age gaps (10 years folks!), and relationships (doesn’t need to be something she invests her time in right now), and how I as her daddy will be there to help guide her through her relationships and help lead her toward good relationships with boys….when she’s 35. Ok…not 35….but definitely will be helping her through that whole “dating” thing.
I explained how when the time comes for her to date (which will be determined by her mother and I) that I will be the one who makes the decision if she has a boyfriend or not.
Before I move on, let me have a quick heart to heart with you boys on this point.
You see boys….her heart belongs to her father right now (that’s me). And as her father I have been entrusted to protect that heart. And to mold that heart into a heart for God. And no boy in his right mind (that’s you) had better get any crazy ideas that he’s gonna be my little girls boyfriend unless I’ve given that stamp of approval. Which in order to get that stamp will require a lie detector test, a 15 mile/50lb pack running course, a bible quiz, blood test, swim test, breathalyzer, background check, and any other test I can find that will tell me if he’s the right guy for one of my greatest treasures on this earth…my daughter.
Alright…I probably won’t go through all of that but, you will have to go through me to get to her. That is absolute. No budging on this one my friend.
I went on to explain how I love her, and care for her, and want to make sure that she knows when the time is right that I will be right there to walk her through it all.
The conversation ended well, with a hug and a kiss and “I love you daddy!” before she skipped off to bed to probably to dream about boys. [I sure hope not]
And as she walked away my wife looked at me and said I handled it well.
WHEW! What a relief.
Thank God (literally) for our wives…because honestly…I needed that affirming word because I was feeling like I just bombed. Because the last thing I want to do is scar my daughters heart for life and lead her into a place of fear with me. At least an inappropriate level of fear. She should definitely fear me….but for the right reasons….kind of like how I fear God.
Speaking of God….I tell you this tale because I think parenting in our nation has become a very hands off ordeal and has practically taken God out of the equation. Sadly, children are being raised to just go with their “feelings” without any real guidance, or instruction from their parents…and for reasons that I just can’t get my head around….reasons like a fear that they may “squash creativity” in their child or cause their child to develop into an awkward adult.
The irony in that? They are personally causing their children to grow into an awkward adult with a dark future because they refuse to provide discipline, direction, and truth into their children’s lives. They live by the whole “they will figure it out” mantra, and they are sending their children out into the world only to be crushed by the waves of our culture.
Adults…we have a duty, according to God’s word, to train our children in the way they should go.
It says in Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way they should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I’m not a strict father.
I’m a loving father.
I’m not a harsh father.
I’m a father who loves my children enough to give them the truth, and direct them in the paths of righteousness before the Lord….so that one day they can stand before men and have a witness and testimony to the awesome works of God.
So church – perhaps it’s time to start rethinking how you’re raising your kids. Are you directing them in the right direction? Through God’s word? Teaching them to be men and women of God? Or are you holding back and just letting them “figure it out” because you fear you might inherit the label of “strict” or “harsh”?
If the latter is where you’re at, let me just remind you….the people putting that label on you are NOT the ones who are ultimately responsible to raise your children and they are NOT the ones who will be held accountable by God for how YOU brought them up. These responsibilities belong to you and to you alone. So wear those labels…because they are probably coming from parents who have kids that no one wants to be around.
Now I’m just going to spend the rest of the day praying that the next “talk” will happen about….oh…..20 years from now.