The following is a real conversation between myself & my Daughter
J: “Mom, you know Daniel that’s in my class?”
Me: “Yes, what about him?”
J: “Today at lunch he asked me to be his girlfriend and he gave me a ring.”
We were driving home from dance class the other day when my 7 year old daughter dropped this bombshell on me.
Inner me: WHAT?! No! Absolutely not! You are in first grade. No boyfriends… EVER!
Me: “Oh he did? What did you tell him?” (As I pushed the instant FREAK OUT mode down a little bit)
J: “Well, I told him I would have to ask my mom.”
Inner me: Thank You Lord! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Me: “Well that was a very smart thing to say. What do you think I am going to say?”
J: “Ummm… probably no.”
Inner Me: “You bet I’m going to say no…”
Me: “Yup. You’re right. Why do you think Daddy & I will say that?”
J: “Ummm… because I’m not old enough.”
Me: “Yup. What do you think about it?”
Inner Me: “Please agree! Please remember the things we’ve talked about even if it was only in a brief conversation!”
J: “Yeah, I don’t think I’m old enough. Maybe when I’m like 16.”
Inner me: Dancing a celebratory victory dance
Me: “Do you know why you’re probably not old enough?”
Me: “Well, why do you think people have boyfriends?”
Inner Me: “Lord PLEASE help me out with this one. Seriously, I could bungle this without your help!”
Me: “Well, when you like a boy as more than just a friend you may want a boyfriend. Like if you’re thinking about him a lot and you want to hold hands and things. But really God made the boyfriend/girlfriend/dating thing to help us figure out who we are supposed to marry. Do you think you’ll be ready to get married in the next 5 years?”
J: Laughs “No! I’ll only be in 6th grade!”
Me: “You’re right. You won’t be ready to think about getting married anytime soon. Boyfriends are a pretty serious thing. I think it would be best if we waited a while until you think about having a boyfriend. You should probably just tell Daniel that you’re not old enough to have a boyfriend but that you two can just be friends. How does that sound?”
J: “Yeah. That’s what I’m going to do.”
I have to tell you that during this short conversation I felt like I should smile, cry, stop the car, laugh, & call my husband all at the same time. I mean REALLY? She’s 7.
Jimmy and I haven’t really sat down and planned out our specific rules about boyfriends and dating yet. (Did I mention she’s only 7…) We’ve been more concerned with spelling lists & making sure we remember to get snacks for the class on our assigned snack day. Boyfriends? Rings? Ha! That seemed laughable. Until now.
The more I’ve thought about it over the past week the more I’ve realized how unprepared I was for that conversation. I know that as parents we agree that there will be no boyfriends until our girls are older, but what age? What about dates? Group dates? Movie dates?
If I created rules going off of my personal dating experiences in High School I would lock them in their rooms until they were 18 and tell them stories about boys only wanting one thing. (Ok, we WILL be having those talks… Jimmy says it’s mandatory)
My 7 year old is a lot more like Jimmy than me though. Their personalities are so alike and Jimmy didn’t date. I was his first real girlfriend and we started dating our freshman year of college. (Now this is not counting the girl from church that was his girlfriend for like 2 weeks and they only saw each other at church… He says that doesn’t count)
After some discussion Jimmy and I have decided to wait to set specific rules. We are just going to continue having clear, biblically intentional conversations about boyfriends & dating and we’ll take each event as they come. In the mean time I’ll be reading, praying & asking God to prepare me for what lies ahead.
I just never thought I’d be dealing with boyfriends and rings in first grade. Wow! I guess God’s just trying to keep me on my toes!
10 minutes later I found myself thinking about that ring.
Me: “Hey, what did you do with that ring?”
J: “Oh! At recess the girl that sits next to me saw it and said that it looked just like the one that she brought to school and put in her box on her desk but it disappeared. So I gave it to her. We think Daniel took it from her box.”
Inner Me: “Little hoodlum…”
Me: Laughs “Well it sounds like it all turned out ok then.”