After a fairly crazy few days….the thought of sitting down and enjoying tea with my girls was very appealing today. Since we had officially decorated for fall over the weekend, we anticipated an autumn atmosphere with all the beautiful fall colors adorning our table.
We even were blessed to get wonderful mugs with fall leaves on them to add to the fall flavor. It was a perfect fall afternoon tea! After savoring our tea and cookies and chatting about how much we loved this season, we settled back to resume courtship classes today.
I recently purchased several books for us to read and discuss over the next years – Passion & Purity by Elizabeth Elliot (a personal all time favorite of mine!), I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris, When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy and Your Half of the Apple by Gini Andrews. I asked the girls which one they wanted to begin with and Rebekah (the strongly opinionated one) chose When God Writes Your Love Story.
We read the introduction today which was written by Leslie who shared her story of greatly desiring to be in a relationship and having one after another end in a broken heart. She finally desperately cried out to God who assured her that He wanted to be in control of this area of her life and that He had the greatest relationship & romance awaiting her if she would only give Him the pen in her life to write the story.
Our discussion afterwards consisted of talking about the purpose of teenage relationships. I asked the girls to tell me in their opinion what were the benefits of being in a boy/girl relationship as a teenager. We have discussed this topic often since they were young they immediately said…. “There are NO benefits!” (I have influenced their thinking!) So I asked them to share perhaps what others might say or what they have heard from their friends. Their list of the benefits included:
- To feel special and loved
- To have someone to hold your hand & walk you to class (belonging)
- To experience a relationship
That is all they could come up with. We then discussed how these things could be experienced in their relationship with the Lord and that if we rely on any human to always meet our needs to be loved, feel special or belong that at some point we will be let down. Even in a committed marriage relationship there are times that only the Lord can meet your deep longings. We all must first seek to a loving relationship with our creator before we can truly love another. We need to be content and confident in God’s love.
We moved from that topic to the discussion of what it actually means when someone says about a member of the opposite sex…”I like him or her”. In our society it starts in the church nursery with Moms thinking its sooooo cute to say….”Look, Johnny likes Sally” Our toddlers are soon saying it for themselves, with no understanding of what they mean – “I like this boy or girl”, to the laughs and smiles of their Mommys. It continues on through elementary school and is full blown by junior high & high school. BUT I want to know what “liking” someone actually means? When a young person says “I like him” – what are they really saying? I asked my girls (by this time the current high schooler, Amy was home) what their friends meant when they said those words. (and believe me – they say them OFTEN!)
They shared what they thought most girls meant when they say “I like him” (and they decided to do an informal survey this week and ask what others actually mean when they say this) –
- He’s hot!
- I think he’s cute
- He makes my heart flutter
- He seems nice
- I want to “go” with him (although that is another unclear, undefined, what does that mean? statement.)
We all agreed that words are important, they mean something, and that we should attempt to be clear in our communication. (especially when poor communication or the lack thereof is detrimental in relationships) The word “like” is pretty generic and is used for everything from – I like coffee to I like my neighbor. So before we get caught up in the teenage norm of saying “I like this boy or that boy”, we should be clear about what we are saying. And on a side note – is physical appearance or chemistry a valid reason to pursue a relationship with someone or are there more important things for example –
- spiritual life
We decided to get out a thesaurus and look at synonyms for the word “like”. Instead of using “like” when talking about our feelings for or thoughts about a person (as opposed to a “thing” – I like coffee, candles, cookies etc…), we agreed we should use more accurate and meaningful words. By doing that we would be more careful about defining our relationships.
Here are our favorites –
- Care for
- Hold dear
- Greatly esteem (yeah Jane Austen!)
Wouldn’t it be lovely to hear young people using verbs that take thought, examination and real emotion to describe their feelings for someone rather than settling for the generic -“I like him” that is often based merely on physical attraction or casual observation? Or is that only for another time in history?
Great dialogue and discussion today at tea. Until next week….