Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Tweenagers' View of Dating

One advantage of having children of various ages is the rapport and comradeship that develops between older and younger. Younger siblings often will freely discuss things with an older sister that they don't even think about mentioning to us, their parents.

"Should I tell her I want to be a vet???"  *
Such was the case when our daughter from Texas was home during her grad school's spring break. She stayed up late one evening with our 11 and 12 year old, and reaped the benefit of a very enlightening conversation...

"So - how does dating work?" one of them randomly asked her.

"Well, when someone likes you, they ask if you can go do something together, and get to know each other better. Going out for a meal, doing fun things together, that kind of stuff."

"But isn't the boy supposed to ask daddy's permission first, before you do all that?" asked the youngest sister.

"Oh, ummm...well yes, of course!" fumbled the 24-year-old, not bothering to explain that she has kind of out-grown that phase of life.

"Wow - some guy is really going to have to like you a LOT to come all the way from Texas to talk to daddy."

"Well yes, I guess he will." she mumbled, then tried to change directions. "So, when you're old enough to date, will you ask the girl's dad for permission to date her, Josiah?" 

"Oh...I guess so," he replied unenthusiastically, but then he perked up,  "If I'm really lucky - she will be an orphan!"

(Insert lots of big sister laughter at her little brother's skills of reasoning.)

"So - what do you think you will do on your very first date?" she couldn't resist asking him.

"We'll probably just go out for ice cream. But I think I should tell her, before we go, that I want to be a vet when I grow up."

"Why do you have to tell her that right away?"

"Well, it takes lots of years of going to school to be a vet - she probably won't like that," was his thoughtful reply.

"But you don't have to talk about all of that right away - you can just have fun getting ice cream with her."

"No - I should tell her. Because if I wait and tell her that after we're at the ice cream place, she might get mad at me and not want to ride in the car with me anymore. How would she get home? I always wonder about that in the movies, when the girl gets mad at the guy and walks out - how does she get home?"

You have to give the boy credit for his thoughtfulness, even if he doesn't know much about dating...or taxis.
*photo credit: Denise McDaniel, 2007

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