Archive for April, 2012

A friendly list

Following an event last week,  I met a man and his wife who have 3 daughters. The oldest is entering middle school next fall, and the dad was lamenting, “I know that the ‘boyfriend thing’ is on the horizon…some of her friends are already there. What is a good way to start a conversation about this? I’d like to know what she’s thinking, and I’d also like to have a little input.”

My advice was for him to ask his daughter to make a list

Leave off the word BOY, and just ask her to make a list of what a GREAT FRIEND looks like. More than likely she will have things on her list like honest, loyal, funny, kind, considerate, a good listener, encouraging, someone I can laugh with, unselfish, trustworthy, caring…. Now you can admire her for her high standards, and let her know that these are also the perfect things to look for in a future boyfriend.

Somewhere along the way, you may want to point out to her that the word HOT doesn’t appear on her list. You can let her know that although mutual attraction IS an important part (our culture tells us it’s the ONLY part), it’s not nearly as important as everything else on her list. This person should first of all be a good friend.

This is obviously only the start of conversations about boy-girl relationships. But like so many things in our lives, it helps to have a starting point….and for me, it’s usually a list!

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Beauty and Boundaries

Going to the zoo this spring? I’ll bet your children enjoy seeing the monkeys, zebras, and exotic birds. When you get to the tigers’ den there’s an excitement about being close to something that would be dangerous to you outside of the zoo. If that tiger were loose in your neighborhood, you would run inside and lock the doors, yet within the safety of secure boundaries they are beautiful animals to watch.  Tigers are as powerfully fierce as they are beautiful, and we respect the threat that they can pose as well as appreciate the beauty and mystery that is so compelling.

There are other examples in nature of things that are both fearful and wonderful…the ocean, fire, and sex. Powerful, compelling, mysterious, and when enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s purposes, beautiful. We are drawn to these things, but we must be aware of their potential danger.

If you find a teachable moment at the zoo, or  the beach, or in front of a fire pit this spring…take advantage of it! Some things that are powerful and beautiful need to be approached carefully. Just because something is beautiful, doesn’t mean you run to it with total abandon. Enjoying the beauty while respecting the boundaries for something that is both fearful and wonderful is a good life lesson.

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