This piece, by Theresa Thomas at her blog Everyday Catholic, is really good.
I have to admit my first reaction when I saw the title of her post was not the most charitable. I don’t rush to judgment – I put on cleats and sprint.
So when I saw “Teenage Dating for Girls,” I thought, oh great. Another well-intentioned but confused Catholic parent telling us why it’s okay that her teenage daughter goes steady – because it’s important to show that we trust her and she knows she’s supposed to be good and we really want her to think of us more as friends than as parents and that boy is so charming and his parents are so nice and – what, you’re pregnant?
But no, I was wrong.
Mea culpa, Mrs. Thomas – you’ve nailed it.
To begin with, I realize that I’m probably displaying an astounding ignorance here. Judging by Mrs. Thomas’ blog, it wouldn’t surprise me if she is quite well known in the Catholic parenting blogosphere. So that’s probably even more reason why I should have known better than to jump to any conclusions.
I should also note that my own home is decidedly ungraced by the presence of any teenage girls, so my own opinions on this particular topic are, from a practical standpoint, entirely prospective in nature. Being thus unencumbered by the actual reality of being a parent to a teenage daughter, I am compelled to express my views on the subject with absolute certainty.
And my dating rules for the lovely creatures once they do arrive are quite simple:
Theresa Thomas has basically the same principle underlying her four rules, but she explains the reasoning behind it much more beautifully and clearly than I can, and she makes it seem way less mean than I would (and will, no doubt). For one thing, she actually has four rules, which implies that dating is allowed among her daughters, but when you read her rules you’ll see why she makes sense. Basically, there’s no going steady in the Thomas family before you’re a legal adult. Oh, and if you want to ask one of her daughters to a dance or prom, you ask her father for permission first.
I’m a big fan of these rules, although admittedly my articulation of them would probably include fewer uses of words like “respect” and “accountability” and a more liberal scattering of terms like “my boot” and “Remington.”
Anyway, Mrs. Thomas’ article is well worth the read.