When the Homeschool Review Crew offered me the opportunity to review a product from Parenting Made Practical, there were many great resources to choose from. Videos like Navigating the Rapids of Parenting and Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think as well as the book, What Every Child Should Know Along the Way all looked interesting, but then I saw the one I knew I needed to watch—Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works?.
Since my oldest kids are eighteen and nineteen, I expect a wedding or two in the not too distant future. Adding my twelve and thirteen year old daughters to the mix, I keep expecting dating to become a hot topic. Even though none of the kids have brought it up, I need to be prepared when they do.
On a drizzly Saturday morning, the kids were busy playing Scrabble at the kitchen table while I sat in the adjacent room watching the first video segment, Developing Your Dating Philosophy. While it is a great session to watch with teens, I feared my kids might be bored by the video, and I did not want to interrupt their game. They would likely listen in while I watched anyway.
Their laughter started within minutes as they listened to Joey Link recount the creative ways he got to know some unsuspecting young men who wanted to date his daughters. I am not sure if the kids listened beyond those stories or zoned back into their game because I was too busy taking notes.
The DVD comes with a workbook which outlines the key points and goes into further depth in some areas. I filled in the blanks while watching the DVD and can use it as a resource later when discussing with my kids the philosophy and practical aspects of dating.
I was concerned that the videos might approach the topic from an ultra-conservative perspective. Although the video addresses the perspective I feared, calling it courtship dating, it advocates a more realistic philosophy, naming it Friendship Dating.
Friendship Dating sounds remarkably similar to the natural way my relationship with my husband developed after we first met. First, we got to know each other as friends and continued our friendship by phone across the country. Joey and Carla call this the Possible Level. When he visited me and my family for Thanksgiving, we both decided it was time to move to the next stage (Potential Level)—neither of us would date anyone else, and he began making plans to move to Kentucky, where I lived, so we could get to know each other better. Following his cross-country move the following summer, we both knew we would probably marry each other—Probable Level. By New Year’s Eve, our relationship reached the Proposal/Engagement Level—he asked me to marry him, and of course I said, “Yes!”
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Using Luke 2:52, Joey and Carla discuss four different areas—mental, physical, spiritual, and social—in which a relationship should grow as it progresses through each level. This resonated with my homeschool philosophy; as I plan each school year, I set goals for my kids in each of these areas, in keeping with the areas in which Jesus Himself learned and grew. I never thought of applying this verse in a dating context.
The video clearly points out the shortcomings of dating as defined by our culture and offers a framework for Christian parents to teach their children.
The second session, How to Make it Work, addresses practical aspects of sharing the framework with teens and young adults. Carla starts by explaining how your son or daughter can tell if he or she is attracted to someone enough to date them. If there are physical, social, spiritual and emotional pings of attraction, a dating relationship is worth exploring.
Joey and Carla then discuss each area of growth (mental, physical, spiritual, and social) in detail, offering questions to help dating couples set standards and get to know each other as their relationship progresses. They do not give hard and fast rules, nor do they advocate parents setting the boundaries for their kids’ relationships. In a dating relationship, young couples set goals together and receive affirmation from their parents.
Clearly, this kind of dating is best suited for young adults who are mature enough to set appropriate standards. A guy must be ready to be the leader in the relationship and to support and provide for his future wife. Girls need to be ready to respect a man and submit to his leadership.
Both of the sessions are well presented and interesting to watch. I really appreciate the workbook, as it helped me focus on the teaching as I watched the videos, and I can refer back to it for in depth information in the future. It may be awhile before my kids are ready to date, but I am glad I watched this video now rather than waiting until one of my daughters comes home and tells me, “Mom, I met a guy…”
The first session is perfect to watch with teens, especially if they are already interested in dating. I highly recommend watching both sessions with your husband so you can discuss together what dating philosophy you will present to your children.
My family reviewed Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? Other Crew members reviewed different products. Click here to read the reviews and learn more about the other products available from Parenting Made Practical.