Princess has obviously dove into school in the prime time of awaking hormonal awareness issues. I mentioned in the previous post that she had a little boy bugging her because he liked her. By the end of the week there were three of them and they were doing that little school yard ritual of sending one over to ask her if she liked the other, or passing a note through that same gopher friend to find out the same. Man, I remember that so well, yet it sank back somewhere in my memory till now. On Friday she received a love note: "I love you, do you like me?" to which she replied: "no, not really". Then, the little boy was crying and she felt bad so she sent another note: "I'll be your friend though." to which she received by way of above mentioned gopher/carrier (pity that guy) a fancy pencil with thus note attached: "okay! This is a gift!".
Oh, my....the comedy.
Christy from Zimms Zoo had an excellent point in her comment on our last post:
"It does seem that these days parents think it is so cute for elementary kids to have "boyfriends". I say that is an extremely slippery slope."
I totally agree with Christy. There is nothing cute about encouraging children to play marriage, and they will only go from there to escalate their process of playing that game. It's a biological process with a climatic end. Do we really want them on that road at all? NO! Pretend on this topic ended in kindergarten when they played house...those days are over and they need to know it!
We encouraged Princess to be a friend to everyone. Right now of course she is more annoyed by the attention and would rather avoid these boys but we are trying to make a point to be kind to everyone. Though this age is normal for those feelings to really start bubbling to the surface in kids, we have to be aware as parents that their exposures on television or elsewhere are more than likely far above where our child has been mentally.
Right before school she and I did a lot of talking. I wanted things to come from me. It went really well. Once I told her things, I was able to explain God's plan for marriage, commitment, and therefore appropriate behaviour when these feelings start to bubble up through the growing up years. She all ready has a major crush on the actor who plays Prince Caspian, so I know she is starting to notice the opposite sex. Like most girls, she is noticing ones a little older rather than those at her own awkward age. I am not threatened by this, or panicked. It's healthy and normal. But, it is a catalyst for a time of discipling that begins now and goes on till the day she walks down that isle.
So, I begin to prayerfully ask what I can do, how to teach. Yes, there are books I've gathered, there are ways it was done for me, but what does God have for these children? Well, right now we begin with the practical blanket statement of friendship....be every ones friend. Neither shun, a classmate, nor is it appropriate to treat one as more than a friend.
I think a very practical development at this time is to guide Princess through beginning to pray for her future spouse that God has for her. I wish I had done that earlier (I started to when I was in college) than I did so that I could be reminded that if God had a mate for me, he was out there, and he was real. Prayer for God to develop his character even now through his growing up years, and prayer to save romance for him. These are more simple terms at this age. We don't want to ignore the topic and therefore leave room for their secret imaginations to fill the void, or the comments of their friends or else. Nor do we want to overkill the subject and take away what is indeed left of their childhood years. What we REALLY don't want to do is make them feel wrong for their developing feelings. I am absolutely sure this can lead to unhealthy understandings and even guilt burdens in regard to what God has programed in us naturally. We want her to know it IS NORMAL, it is healthy....now, what do we do with it? Prayer for their future spouse is a mental compass of sorts to keep guiding her back to the goal God has for her.
Rick and I feel that a simple guideline is as follows. (1) Your romantic feelings though noticeable for years are not to be acted upon until you are ready for it's ultimate goal...marriage. If you are not ready to marry, you are not to be engaged in marriage building behavior. (2) and much later on.... If you would not do it to your brother, you should not do it to a boy. I often was confused as a teen as to what was right and wrong in a relationship. There were many adults who I heard discuss it and many would say that it was something you just had to pray whether it was right and obey conviction on.....baloney! When you are feeling those feelings, you are not ready to do those mental processes. However, a practical line is drawn by thinking "would I kiss my brother on the lips?" "heavens, no!" (well, maybe in a Greek or Russian family, but I know my girls won't want to:). "Would I hold his hand?" "Well, yes." (and please remember I am not speaking now, I'm speaking later when the #1 issue has been settled, that being whether you are prepared for marriage in a relationship and okay with being headed in that direction). "Would I kiss him on the cheek?" "Well, yes" (if he was nice:).
The fact is, until we are married, we are in essence brothers and sisters in the Lord (and of course this is all under the disciplining to be pursuing a man of God though I have not mentioned that yet). What we would not do with our physical brother, we should not do with our spiritual one. These are clear, and easy guidelines, and it will be how we will be presenting the harnessing of romantic emotions over the next decade of our daughters life.
The important thing that I'm having to remember now, and I'm excited for the new challenges because of, is that we are beginning to open up those channels of discussion. I don't want to shame her for having feelings if they do come up because that shuts down the channel and it's a fearful reaction. Instead, I need to reaffirm that God gave her these feelings and they are great! I don't need to be fearful, or panic, I need to put my discipling hat on and take her hand boldly but with prayers for wisdom.
Today, I'm thankful she is annoyed by the boys. For today anyway. :)