This morning, I am preparing for a date with my oldest son, Just’us. He doesn’t know it yet, but in about 30 minutes, he will be treating me to a nice Waffle House breakfast. My son, who turned 13 6 months ago, has been testing the boundaries recently when it comes to his interactions with the opposite sex. Even though I have set a strict “no dating” rule, he is intent on exploring those waters at an age I think is much too early. I believe in dating for marriage, not to fit in or as a cure for boredom. Sadly, many teenagers “date” in an attempt to fill a void left by the brokenness of other relationships in their lives. I have lived this reality and have tried to shield him from the same pain that comes along with it, but this morning, I am deciding to “meet him where he is” as I was encouraged to do by a very good friend and Jay’s mentor. If he wants to date, he is going to do it the right way.

This morning (7:00 AM to be exact), Jay will get up, get dressed, knock on my (our) door, and I will drive us 25 minutes away to the nearest breakfast joint (we could have just gone to Subway, but I need to run to Walmart). He will get out, open my car door, open the restaurant’s door, pull out my chair, wait until I have sat to sit, and stand with me whenever I get up and return to the table. He will spend his $20 allowance on this meal and forfeit whatever other plans he had for it. Because that is what you do when you have decided to date someone. “Dating” is more than walking a girl to class and texting her “good morning” each day. It is an investment you make into a girl because of the potential you see in her and the desire to include her in your future. If the girl is not worth saving and working hard for, she is not the one for you.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but this morning, I am prepared to tell my 13 1/2 years old son that he has my permission to date, if he does it in the most decent and respectful way. He will meet her parents, ask their permission to date their child, choose a date and a location, pick her up from her home, and WE all will enjoy a nice afternoon out with good company and pleasant conversation. He will forgo having an iPhone in order to maintain a more affordable phone plan, and he will use the money he saves to treat the girl or girls he decides to date.

If we want to do grown up things, we are going to do them in the most mature, grown up way.

I will let you all know how it works out.