If you want to be prepared to navigate the waters of dating, courtship and marriage, the video seminar Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? from Parenting Made Practical will be an excellent tool. Joey and Carla Link are parents who’ve walked the road and now have 3 grown and married children. Their goal through their ministry, books and seminars is to encourage, equip and empower parents to raise obedient, respectful and responsible kids for the glory of God, from those infant years all the way to adulthood.
Whether you are just starting out or find yourself with a houseful of teenagers already, I know you’ve asked the questions: “What about dating?” “What’s courtship?” “How will the find a mate?” This 2-hour seminar addresses these questions and
With four married children so far, we have already been down this path (or ridden this roller coaster!) Still, I was happy to sit down and view the Link’s DVD and Workbook in order to hear how other parents deal with this issue of dating vs. courtship and choosing a spouse.
Although presented to a group of parents and their teens, the seminar is geared mainly toward the parents of children ages 9 to late teens. It is clear that Joey and Carla Link believe the responsibility of the parents to be preparing and communicating with their children before they become of age to date or marry. As a parent, are you prepared to guide or counsel your child through the process of choosing a mate? Most parents I meet would say, “No.” That’s why this video is so important. It will help you say, “We can do this!”
The first session is approximately 50 minutes long and lays a foundation for you, looking at definitions of dating and courting, and offers up scripture to back up their position on these topics. They give us some straight talk about dating in our society along with some shocking statistics. They also give us hope and tools to deal with it all and ways to help our children be equipped.
One statement made by the speakers made me sit up and pay attention — “The more broken relationships a teen has in high school and college, the higher the chance of a broken marriage.” My husband and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We would love to see all our children enjoying the blessing of a committed marriage (even though it takes a lot of work with plenty of ups and downs.) If encouraging them to “date around” might jeopardize that, I think it’s worth it to do what it takes to help them be smart about how they go about choosing a mate.
While this is my opinion on the subject of dating, the seminar is not all about waiting until your child is 30 or older before allowing them out of the house! Rather, the Link’s encourage you to lay a foundation, having a philosophy early (even as early as 3rd grade) and know what your family’s general framework will be so that you can guide them through it all rather than be drug along after the fact.
Parenting through the issues of dating, courtship and marriage is a part of teaching and training the whole child. We should not ignore it. We can look to scripture (Proverbs 22:6) and to Jesus (Luke 2:52) for ideas on how to set the foundation and framework. This is where the principles in this video are found.
In the homeschool community there has been a conversation on dating vs. courtship happening for many years. I’ve seen families swing like a pendulum, from one extreme to the other. Some take a hands-off-they-are-going-to-do-it-anyway attitude, and some take an as-a-parent-I-must-call-all-the-shots approach. I would agree with Joey and Carla Link that neither would be the best plan of action. Each family is unique, each child will walk this path differently. But it is crucial that parents are able to walk the path with their child. Your children are unique, they won’t walk ride this roller coaster in exactly the same way. In the seminar you’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each and then settle in with a look at how to balance these views, finding a place for that pendulum to settle nicely in just the right spot.
I would agree with their belief that if two people are ready to be dating or courting, they need to own the relationship, responsible for how they behave and what boundaries ought to be made. It should not be entirely on the shoulders of the parents to carry that responsibility. What’s the goal of dating or courtship? To see if this person of interest might be “the one.” If they are going to know if they truly want to spend the rest of their lives together, they’ll have to be able to make decisions and choices themselves.
This is why the seminar addresses parents of younger aged children. Setting those foundations early is so important. In the last part of the first session, we are introduced to the term “Friendship Dating.” This concept offers kids some common sense advice and the tools necessary to help parents guide the children as they begin ‘noticing’ and spending time with the opposite sex.
Using Biblical standards, they go into more detail through the 2nd session, which lasts close to an hour. This session focuses on four distinct areas and how they affect a person as they grow in a dating relationship. As two people become closer, they will have to maneuver through Social, Mental, Physical and Spiritual levels and as parents, we can help our children ask questions and watch for triggers, both good and bad. The Links offer some excellent advice in how to approach all this as our children grow.
The two sessions were enjoyable to watch. With a cup of coffee and and my pen & paper it was nice to sit and listen to another set of parents share from their experience. I intended to fill out the workbook as I watched the seminar, but I found that did not work for me. The content is all included in the workbook, just not in exactly the same order or manner. It will be a good reference book when I want to share with others.
I watched Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate… What Works? with the goal to determine if we would use this as a family devotion type of resource or something we could use with parents and teens in our church. I would say, yes, we could use it for either of these situations, but mostly I would recommend it as a parent resource. I would like to learn more about the other products available from Parenting Made Practical. They have a wide variety of parenting books such as Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave and videos like Navigating the Rapids of Parenting.
You can read how other families are using this resource and other books and materials from Parenting Made Practical. Just click on the image below!