8 Responses to The Old-School Date

  • Better yet, raise your daughter(s) in a Catholic household and your daughter(s) should be able to filter out the MTV-tarnished date.

    In fact, don’t go on dates, but go in large groups, that way the two can get to know each other better without the daughter being pressured into sex.

    And then when she is ready, she has her guy friend ask permission from the father to court her.

    Dating isn’t supposed be about having ‘fun’ only. IT’s to discern your possible future spouse.

  • Yes Tito- I like your advice- I have a few years to go before I have to set these ground rules for real. I did want to offer some practical advice to get some momentum behind the general principle of going back to some of the old-school ways of courtship. So old-school, I have to look well past my generation to find a time period where the societal norms were more conducive to the postponement of sex until marriage.

  • While dating is sometimes courting, there are high schoolers from families that I know at church who are dating and for whom I have a great deal of respect as Catholic young people. (I’m sure I wouldn’t have objected to dating as a high schooler, but I didn’t run across the right women till college.)

    I think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young, and Tim’s advice sounds pretty good. Indeed, somewhat more restrictively, in high school I would want to know a young man _before_ he dates my daughter and know that he’s a decent sort of guy. (Preferably from a family I know from church.)

    Right now it’s all theoretical, but since I have three daughters within three years (currently 3, 5, and 6) I’m sure that I’ll be dealing with these issues a lot in ten years.

    Whether I resort to cleaning one of the guns remains to be seen. But I’d be more well disposed to a young man if he wants to go shooting with me first and make sure that I know him and trust him.

  • think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young

    I’m not so sure, I guess it depends on the definition of “dating”. If it means a boy taking her somewhere in a car alone and bringing her back 4-6 hours later after activities in unknowable locations with no chaperon or oversight, I think that’s a serious mistake. If it means going out in groups and holding hands or going to a chaperoned school dance, well that’s a different story.

    How do I know this? Because I was a teenage boy.

    ps. I like the gun cleaning approach, sounds like a perfect excuse to justify picking up that nice little AR-15 I saw the other day at the gun show. If you’re going to freak out the boy, why not do it with something more serious than an old .22

  • think there’s a place for simple fun dating among the young

    I respectfully disagree with you on this.

    I agree with Matt though on depending on what you would call a date.

    If it’s going alone with a boy to dinner and a movie, then their courting without your permission. Boys and girls mature in different ways and approach many activities differently.

    As far as your good Catholic friends are concerned, I would frown upon that. There is just no excuse. It’s succumbing to the zeitgeist of fun at all costs. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right.

    And the cleaning the 5.56 caliber M16 approach, I think it’s ok, but it would be more effective if you had several magazines lying around and spent cartridges on the coffee table.

    That’s if you’re asking.

  • I am putting forth a “baby steps” approach for the general culture- which includes many Catholics who are living and acting very much according to the general norms of our society. When I am facing the dating years with my daughters, I will probably take a much harder line myself, but my girls will hopefully see it as a continuation of the high standards we are setting in the family already- not some surprise hardcore “got religion” move that I come up with when my oldest daughter starts asking if she can go out with so and so.

    My article was in part inspired by my own memories- now that I am on the other side of the fence- the married guy with daughters, and not the single guy desiring someone else’s daughters, I am shocked by the realization that at no point in my dating past could I remember any father requesting a sit down chit-chat, or any girl asking me to talk to daddy before dating casually or even seriously. Now that I am a daddy- I can’t believe it! Where were the Dads? I think that the term “Deadbeat Dads” can be used more broadly than just as a description of Dads who aren’t paying child support.

  • I think for a mainstream audience, where the status quo is that one’s daughter goes to public high school and is going out on dates with guys her parents have never even met, this would unquestionably be a good step towards taking better responsibility as a father.

    I’m sure that I’ll be tweeking my ideals as my daughters get older, but right now (thinking back on being a teenager and watching families in our parish who I think are or are not getting things right) I’d say that starting at 16 I would allow my daughters to go on dates so long as:

    1) I knew the boy and at least slightly knew the boy’s parents (know meaning, he’s been over to the house with the full family enough times that I have a clear idea what sort of guy he is) and considered him a trustworthy young man.

    2) I knew where they were going and when they were coming back (and approved of both).

    3) The daughter in question had proved herself trustworthy and morally well formed.

    Of course, if the failure is on the third point, 16-18 is rather late to try to do anything about it — and when your kids move off to college they naturally end up in charge of their own dating lives — so I would certainly hope not to see failure on that point.

    However, I do think that there would be rewards for being a trustworthy teenager, with freedom to date in one’s older teens being one of them. And I also think it’s important not to develop an adversial, prison guard relationship with one’s children — which to be honest I have seen some very well intentioned Catholic parents do, seldom with good results.

    (Though if you boys want to clean a gun, you need to work up into a higher calibre than .223. The AR-15 is basically a muscled up 22. You need a Garand, boys.)

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