My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will rejoice-indeed, I myself;
Yes, my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.  (Proverbs 23:15-16 NKJV)

We are sharing David's personal challenges of dealing with our son, Josiah, who has recently become very interested in a girl.  We have dealt with this with two of our other children, but every situation is different. 

There are some good books that Christian home schoolers and others of different positions on dating, courting, and preparing for marriage relationships have written.  We have read at least parts of many of them.  They are required reading for our kids too.  We recommend three books specifically.  These are Jeff and Danielle Myers' Of Knights and Fair Maidens, Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and His Perfect Faithfulness by Eric and Leslie Ludy. 

However ... and this is an important "however" ... all of the books in the world mean little when you are dealing with real life!  And for us, both the "dating" and "courting" camps also miss the mark. 

On with the story . . . 

As we mentioned, Josiah has developed an interest in a certain young lady, we will call Christiana (not her real name).  Josiah knows what we think about this subject.  All he has had to do is read pages 60-62 of our book!  (You might find it worth reading too.  It is available on our Web site www.davidandlaurie.com.  He also has seen first-hand how we handled this problem with his older siblings, Jeremiah and Katie.  They both have developed caring relationships with a Christian young lady and man respectively. 

But recently, a relationship has escalated in importance in Josiah's mind and has gotten Dad's attention (Mom's, too, of course). 

In our home, our children know they must be at a certain spiritual level before being allowed to even consider a relationship with another person.  This is not by common consent.  It is by parental edict.  Remember, governmentally speaking, the home is not a democracy.  Every person does not get an equal vote-at least in the Callihan home. 

Well, for Josiah, this is not being easily accepted.  He wants to spend time with Christiana "and his friends."  We are really struggling personally with this, quite honestly, because we don't want to come across as arbitrarily protective, restrictive, and maybe even fighting God's work in a young future couple.
 
Obviously there is an attraction that has a spiritual dimension, or it wouldn't be so tough to deal with.  Both Josiah and Christiana are home schooled.  They come from strongly committed Christian homes.  Christiana's dad is the very influential leader of a teen Bible study (youth) group in the community.  It's obvious that Christiana loves Jesus very much, too.  And Josiah really is spiritually strong in some areas of his life.

Recently David and Josiah went out to lunch together-at Josiah's request.  Josiah even paid!  (Dad can't pass up a free lunch.)  He wanted to talk about Christiana.  He was looking for David's acceptance (and approval) to allow the relationship to progress.  However, it was pointed out to Josiah that he has some areas of immaturity that concern both parents.  David pointed out to Josiah specific things that need correcting before a serious relationship with Christiana can happen.  They were addressed.  It was mutually agreed that it wasn't yet time for our young suitor to move along with the relationship, at least just like he wanted it to go. 

Not too long later, however, we learned that our dear son found a way to manipulate to his advantage to continue his contact with Christiana without technically being in violation of the agreement.  But in the spirit of the law, when confronted, he knew he was wrong.  It came to light when both Josiah and Christiana were at the same event with our families and spent more time together than with us.  Both dads subsequently expressed concern to one another, resulting in addressing the problem.