Friday, August 16, 2013

Dating My Son by Kristy Mullins

When I was in middle school, it started. My daddy started dating me. He had a truck that had a bench seat in the front, and I’d ride right beside him to wherever we were going. Often times it was out to eat, and occasionally, he’d buy me something like clothes or jewelry. He always opened the door and gave me his undivided attention. He loved on me, not just then but whenever possible. I didn’t need some hairy-legged boy to tell me how great I was because my daddy already did. I didn’t need some hormonally charged boy to flatter me because my daddy already spoke truth into me and my life about my value and my looks.

Brunch at Cracker Barrel

So based on what I learned from my daddy, I began dating my son. We’ve been doing this since he was around five years old. Each year I add a little something more to the dates. Last year, I began giving him the keys to the truck to hold onto and gave him the money when it was time to pay. He walked with such confidence up to the counter to pay for our meal. He opened all the doors, and when he forgot, I stood outside until he came back and got me with a sheepish grin on his face apologizing. Pearce’s favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel, so that is where we go on most of our dining dates. We practice our best manners for an eight year old. Then when we leave, he has the keys to the truck. He unlocks the door, waits for me to get in, closes the door and gets into the truck before returning the keys. Last year during a date to Cracker Barrel, I was sitting in the truck while Pearce was getting in, and I happened to look into the vehicle ahead of me. The noses of our vehicles were facing each other, and the passenger (a lady) was watching everything unfold. She was grinning and laughing and giving me a thumb up. I just nodded in her direction.

Today, Pearce and I had another date, and I posted a little something about it on Facebook on my personal page. There were quite a few hits, so I thought I’d tell a little bit more about our dates.

Showing Off His Skill at the Arcade
First of all there is a disclaimer. This is my first rodeo raising a boy. There is no dress rehearsal in this life. I wasn’t raised with boys, but I figured if my daddy’s dating me worked, why wouldn’t it work for me and my son. You see, my son and I butt heads frequently because he is my strong-willed child. He is the answer to my mother’s prayers. He wants his way, and he knows his way will work. The problem is he has to learn to submit and obey along with respecting authority including educators and parents. So, I stand my ground. It’s important to me that Pearce sees me more than just his disciplinarian. He needs to see me as his momma who loves him, wants the best for him. He needs to see me laugh and have a good time and to relax and be goofy. This momma thing is all a really big balancing act in the long run.

I also keep in mind that I’m training a future leader: a future leader in school, a future leader in the community, but most importantly, a future, godly leader in his home. So how do I prepare him for that undertaking? How do I train my son to be the godly man God wants him to be? What do I do now? I believe that God will bless my efforts and that His Word will not return void. In the end, Pearce will have to make the decision as to whether or not he believes what I’m teaching and whether or not he’s going to incorporate it in his life. My job for now is to equip him, so when he hears the voice behind him saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Pearce will know that’s from God.

Bass Pro
So what am I doing to prepare and train my son? First of all, he knows how to wash, dry, fold and put away his clothes. He knows how to put away and load dirty dishes. He also knows how to cook several meals. These are real life skills he needs to know in order to survive.

What else am I working on right now with my son? We are using language to convey feelings and emotions, and identifying the emotions because we can have more than happy and angry feelings. This lesson has been going on for some time, and I have reason to believe it will continue for years to come.

As for our dates, currently, we have a conversation about what we want to do and where we want to go. Most of the time it’s to a dinner and a movie. Today, I added praying before our date to the schedule. We pray at meals, but I told him how important it was to pray on dates. He said he didn’t know how to pray for our date, and I reminded him that we pray every morning on our way to school and that is how he should pray. He’s at an age that he’s counting money, and it’s important that he has the confidence to go up and order those movie tickets or to pay for our meal. Probably next year, we will work on the budgeting aspect of our dates, but for now, we are funding the dates making sure he handles the money. I think it’ll be different when I give him the money ahead of time, and he has to plan the date within those perimeters. During our time at the restaurant, he isn’t allowed to play on my cell phone. He has to have a conversation with me or play a game with me. He has to be engaged with his date. The last stop on our date was to see my Mammaw (his great grandmother).
Pearce and his great grandmother Mammaw Groves
After leaving, I told him it’s important to be able to visit with people of all ages. He needs to feel comfortable talking to his date’s family, and he has to feel comfortable bringing his date home to talk with us as well. Oh how I pray that some of this sticks.

I will continue to date my son for as long as he will allow it. I still go on dates with my daddy, but the purpose has changed. Now it’s just to spend time with one another. He’s already poured so much into me and equipped me to be the wife and mother I am today. (BTW, he was my disciplinarian, and we have a loving relationship today, so there is hope!)

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