So, we’ve identified some trends within the young Christian community, I’d say!
There are ups and downs to these figures.
The good news first:
Our Christian kids WANT their parents’ input about who they date! Wow! We’ve personally heard countless teenagers tell us that their parents avoid the subject or don’t want to “go there” with them – but the thing is – they WANT their parents to care enough to voice their opinion…..and generally, teens are even willing to take those opinions seriously!
The figures surprised me a bit, frankly about how much say they DID want their parents to have….it’s a LOT higher than I anticipated.
I was pleased that 80% didn’t believe in love at first sight…..that’s a bunch of nonsense. The “right” couple meeting at the “right” time might be seem like love at first sight, but true love is SO much more than warm fuzzies……
Many teens in our youth group think they are ready to date far earlier than I personally would advocate. Every parent has to make that decision for themselves, and I’m not here to judge. It is my concern that where purity is concerned, there’s only so many bases to home…..and the earlier you begin to allow temptation into their lives, the longer they have to maintain purity during the most hormone-driven years of their lives…..when they are also most affected by peer pressure and the desire to fit in (sometimes at any cost). Fifteen or sixteen may be the accepted cultural “rule” – but it is worth considering on a child-by-child basis what their personal maturity is, what the “point” of beginning dating is, etc.
(This gets into a whole different discussion regarding the pros and cons of dating versus courtship and I’m not prepared to deal with that adequately in this post……I will say that I dated, and that it wasn’t the best experience ever and we hope to do something different with our daughter…)
I was a bit concerned about the fact that 70% of those surveyed believe that there is ONE PERSON out there for them and basically, if they miss it, then they are doomed to a life of marital misery. I think that takes God out of the equation and makes it more of a “crisis point” that they find THE ONE. Movies and media certainly emphasize this notion, but it would seem to be much healthier to understand that God has our best in mind, and that HE directs our paths if we acknowledge Him!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
And although I was pleased at the responses given overall of the essential parts of a healthy longterm relationship, it bothered me that more students didn’t mention that a mutual relationship with Jesus is a MUST! I think they know that cognitively, but many students still don’t understand that a common faith is KEY! Which leads me directly into the next segment…
And now the bad…..
Almost 40% said they would consider dating an unbeliever in order to win them to Jesus……really?!?! That’s truly scary! Why? Well – look at Solomon for a perfect example! Solomon, the wisest man ever turns away from God because of his idolatrous wives….how can our teenagers expect better of themselves?? They DO NOT understand the gravity of this subject. (Even though I know we’ve harped on it over and over and over and over and over….)
It’s the old analogy of how much easier it is to pull someone OFF a chair than it is for them to pull a person standing on the ground up ONTO the chair with them….
So, there you have it! Lots of fodder for some good family discussions… pray that God will open up opportunities for you to talk openly, pray that your child’s heart will be open and receptive, pray for the proper (not overbearing) words that will stir your child’s spirit and help them to be better prepared for this precarious life experience! We know our God is faithful and we must be diligent to train our children – because if we don’t, the media and the culture will be HAPPY to train them for us!!
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