I recently attended a H.O.M.E. meeting at our church. Once a month some women who home school or are interested in homeschooling get together and discuss different topics, pray and offer support to one another. At this past meeting we had a guest speaker, Vicky, who talked about courtship. I loved what Vicky had to say and her story. She has 5 girls 2 of whom have courted and are married, one who is currently courting and 2 other daughters. As a mother of 5 girls myself I really perked up and listened when Vicky spoke.
I have heard of courting before and really have been taken with the idea. At first I thought it was some sort of politically correct arranged marriage situation. I realize now that is way off! Courtship is purposeful dating with the intention of marriage. Ideally you get to know someone well in a friendship, then the man approaches the woman's father in a request to court the girl, asks the girl and then courts, works towards engagement and marries. The thing that is most appealing to me about this model is that the man and woman's hearts are wisely protected and accountable to others. In our culture so many times men and women suffer tremendous heart-ache and pain from dating. In the book Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham he says, "dating is simply practicing for divorce." I couldn't agree more. It pains me to think about my girls hearts breaking needlessly because of lack of caution in where they give their hearts away.
I have many years before I need to really deal with courting. I do however wonder now what I can do start protecting my little girls hearts from the pain of prematurely giving them away to the wrong things. As women and girls we have a bent for romance and can easily give away our hearts and be led by emotion. God has wisely designed us to be emotional, feeling and tuned into our hearts. This will help us to raise the little ones he has us parent and protect our home. Unfortunately with the fall I believe this blessing also became our curse, if we are not careful we can follow our hearts into much trouble. Unguided, unchecked and uncontrolled we can very easily have our hearts crushed and in the process sin as well. So I wonder what do I do now to inform, train and teach my girls that, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond all cure" Jer. 17:9.? How do I start to teach them to, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life" Pr. 4:23?
I have had a few thoughts on what to do, but, hope to have more and nail this down a little more firmly as our girls grow. One thought that I took away from the meeting was to really be diligent in watching what I allow my little girls to see and be entertained by. So many movies, books and songs now rouse the heart to love far before it is time to be concerned with such things. Romance for small children is just silly and ridiculous but it sells! Nearly every Disney movie that involves a princess also involves a prince. Most pop music has jilted teenage love or devotion of another as the main theme. This is unacceptable. I do not want to give the message to my little girls that boyfriends, girlfriends, breaking up, fighting over a mate, arguing and making up is at all acceptable or realistically a part of their teen years. My girls have an active enough imagination without adding the fantasy of princess's marrying, wedding dresses, boyfriends and the such to their minds. The fantasy play that we allow needs to be carefully watched. We do not want to wake a girls sweet purity up too soon, it will do nothing but cause heart ache.
Another item that I had brought to my attention is that Pete and I are responsible for overseeing our girls hearts until they marry. That is a long time! It is our job now to make sure that these precious hearts are not being led astray, hurt, or set up for failure. When our children are left to themselves to date and carry on with boys as they please we are neglecting to care for the entire child. I don't want to pretend like I know how to keep my own heart completely, much less my child's, but I realize I must start forging a relationship when my girls are little so that they will hopefully trust me with their hearts when they are older and allow Pete and I to help protect and guide them. This is a scary thought because of the gravity it holds, but, in another way I look forward to seeing them have joy filled marriages that aren't entered into with past baggage and pain. I also look forward to helping along the way.
There is so much more for me to consider and learn in this area. I hope that if you have any ideas on how to start promoting the care and protection of your child's heart at a young age you will respond here.