A Conversation Between Father and a Teen-ager At the Occasion of His First Date
“So you are going out tonight? This does not take me entirely by surprise. I thought there was something in the wind when you so willingly took your shower, put on your new blue jeans, and even slicked your hair. This is quite a momentous occasion, and I say this in all seriousness.”
“But Dad, it’s only my first date. All the kids do it sooner or later. Besides, she’s a nice girl.”
“That isn’t what I mean. I have no objection to your going out on a date now that you are sixteen years old. And I am glad that she is a nice girl. What’s her name?
“Oh? You met her at school? Then she does come from a Christian home? She herself is a serious-minded girl?”
“But Dad, this is only my first date. You talk as if I am already getting serious about her.”
“Evidently you are serious enough to have given her more than a passing glance. You have asked her for a date. Is she neat about herself? Is she a good student? After a while, if you are invited to her home, you will be looking around, maybe even unconsciously, to see whether her mother is as neat in her housekeeping as yours is. You will be sampling the cooking to see whether her mother is teaching her the fine arts of cooking. These are all fringe benefits, I know; but you need not ignore them.
“You say that she is very popular at school. Fine, but does she date a lot of different boys? Are you just one of the many that she goes out with? Don’t frown at me like that. To you that may not seem very important. To me it is an earmark. Think of it this way: if you were buying an automobile, wouldn’t you prefer a brand new one that has never been driven by anyone else? Of course, finances might compel you to look for a demonstrator or even a second hand car, when it comes to automobiles. But you still would prefer a new one, now, wouldn’t you? I remember my first car had only three miles on it when it was delivered to us. How proud I was of that brand new look and smell. It was altogether mine. Now, if I were looking for a girl friend, who just might become my future wife, I certainly would not want a demonstrator, would you? Much less a second hand one., Imagine after you were married having this fellow and that one talking to your wife about the good times they had together. Don’t you think that would make you a bit jealous? Besides, seeds of distrust are so readily sown in the human mind, and distrust can be very disastrous in the home and in the family.”
“But Dad, we are not getting married. We are not even thinking of going steady. This is my first real date with her.”
“Tell me, what do you know about her? You have seen her at school. You, no doubt, have watched her out of the corner of your eye in class and between periods. You must have talked to her. What is she like? Is she careful about the language she uses? With what kind of girls does she associate? Is she respectful to her teachers, polite and mannerly? Or is she loud, assertive? Does she talk back to her teachers? Is she rude to her classmates? Is she proud or haughty?”
“But Dad. . . ”
“Yes, this is your first date; I have not forgotten that. Yet it appears to me that this is a good time to consider these things. You still have your eyes open. You are still able to use your senses. You have not yet been swept away to cloud nine.
“Son, believe it or not, I’ve seen a lot of dating in my lifetime. I know that sounds old fogeyish and all that. Let that be. Far too many young folks are swept off their feet by a cute face, an attractive figure, or maybe a good basketball player, or even by a sports model coupe. They thought it was only a passing whim. It was not for them to get serious. But then suddenly it happened. Starry-eyed they talk about being ‘in love.’ With a long sigh they beg their parents to believe that this is the real thing. Their ‘love’ for each other will remove every barrier of religion, every fault and every bad habit. When once they are married, all their problems will melt away like ice before the noon-day sun. But by that time reason has flown out of the window, common sense has disappeared. A foolish heart and a strong passion have gained control of them. When they awaken from their dream, it will simply be too late. Do you wonder that there are so many unhappy marriages and so many divorces?
“Now while you still have a clear mind, be sure to ask yourself whether you would care to spend the rest of your life with a person like that. Also ask yourself whether you will still find her appealing when she sits across from you at the breakfast table in her housecoat with her hair pinned up and slippers on her feet.
“Yes, and while you are searching your mind, ask yourself whether this is the kind of wife that you would be able to confide in after marriage. Would your hearts still beat as one when you faced life’s trials together? Would she be able to stand by you and help you to fulfill your life task? Would she be the kind of mother that you would want for your children? Would you like to see her reflected in your children? Would you entrust your precious treasures to her?”
“O children! Who’s talking about a family?”
“Please do not grow impatient with me, because I am not finished yet. Yes, I know that you have to go. There will be opportunity to talk again. All right. Fine. Please keep the communication channels open between us, so that we can have our talks together. No one is as interested in your welfare as your mother and I.
“But now for the real question. What are you going to do on your date? Just ride and talk a bit after the game? Fine. We’ll be looking for you to be home no later than midnight. That will give you plenty of time to have your little chat.”
“What does one talk about on his first date, Dad?”
“Well, a lot of little things, I suppose; school, your studies, your likes and dislikes about music, and a dozen other things. But in the meantime, be sure that you find out how she feels about her church, her catechism, and the like. It is absolutely essential that you agree on one fundamental thing: Your faith in God. Nothing, absolutely nothing is as fundamental as that!
“Your happiness, her happiness, the happiness of your possible future family depends on one thing; and that is that you see eye to eye on the truth of Scripture, so that you can go through life in perfect spiritual harmony. Marriage is a legal contract, as far as the law is concerned. And marriage is also a physical union between two persons for life. But real marriage is a spiritual bond that is holy, because it is the picture of Christ and His church. I would like to talk to you about that again some time.
“And now, son, just one more thing before you go. Pray about this, won’t you? Do me this little favor. ReadGenesis 24 and take note how God brought to Isaac the woman of God’s choice. He does, you know. He brings, as by His own hand, to every man his own wife. And when God points out to you the right one in His mercy, happy you’ll be. And only then.
“Goodbye. Have fun.”