It seems that the subject of purity and waiting for sex til marriage is one that is a hard topic for parents to discuss and often times isn't even first heard from the parents but through the school, whether it be a special class on it or by peers. That is something that we wanted different in our family. Obviously since we home school, our children wouldn't be hearing about it through a public school, but we still wanted it to be a time of special reflection and learning just between us. I found this pack that looked like it would fit what we had in mind perfectly. Passport to purity starts out with basic concepts for youth such as peer pressure and following the herd and works its way to talking about relationships, both in friendships and in dating. It ends with the parents and child discussing what boundaries they want set for dating/courting and what goals the child would like to commit to in staying pure.
Here's just a few pages from the journal.
We actually buy a special journal for our children to write in as they go through the weekend that they can keep and continue to write in as they grow and develop their own ideas and thoughts in Scripture concerning it. This way we can use the book over and over again for each child.
Something special we do with the journal we give is Jonathon and I take a page each and write a letter to our child in it. I think it's special to give our love in writing that the child can always look on as they continue to journal and look through what they've written over the years.
Some things we do during our weekend? We make our weekend during a time when my parents are gone on vacation. We can stay in their house for the weekend and it just be the two of us without other distractions. It works out perfectly and saves money!
Generally we stay on Thursday, all day Friday, then leave after lunch on Saturday to join back up with the family for Sabbath fellowship. I have 2 movies, one for each night to watch. I can't remember what Alegra and I watched (I should have written it down), and this time my movie pick wasn't very good, so we turned it off after the first 5 minutes. We ended up watching Diella's pick of Esther, which is definitely a suitable movie for the topic. We also found one that we didn't know what it was about but it ended up being perfect as well, Princess Cut. about a girl who wanted so badly to be married and found herself in wrong relationships until she decided to completely give herself to God and wait for Him. Then a wonderful young man came along and was a blessing to her and her family. So, movie nights consist of snacks and pjs, which is always fun. We always make sure there's plenty of chocolate and ice cream. :)
I do make some food ahead to take along to eat, but we also plan a couple meals out for fun. She wanted to go to East of Chicago in Shipshewana and Olive Garden, so we scheduled our meal plans according to when we would be around those restaurants.
We desire our children to choose to have a party like a Bat Mitzvah to give them blessing and as a way for them to make a statement of their faith in walking forward according to Yahweh's Word. Diella hadn't been interested in having her party from fear of having to speak and be in front of others. We've been praying for her in this and during the weekend she decided that this summer would be her party. We give a ring of purity and devotion in hearing God's voice and their parent's voice of counsel until they are married, where we have hopes to hand that off to her husband. So, we take time to go to a jeweler and get her finger sized for a ring. We also have a blast finding a dress for the party. We took some great footage of our day doing that, which you can see over at our family vlog spot on youtube, The Grateful Chronicles (it's posted below). That day is always filled with fun, food and great memories of time spent together. We were tired after all the shopping (we're not shoppers at all!), so we were glad to get back to rest, do another session and watch a movie.
Along with the journal in Passport to Purity, there are also CD's that we listen to for each session. The speakers have great stories and relate so well to the youth and their daily situations with friends and relationships. I love how they make the Bible, God, and the parents the guides to life. They make the parents look like we are the helper, assister, and overall encourager in the dating to marry journey. I realize that we haven't faced those days yet as neither of our girls have expressed interest in it, but hopefully, we've well established our ideas and what the Bible would encourage, so they can make the path easy and not have rough spots along the way. We want them to keep their hearts and bodies for the one person God has for them. Time will tell if our teaching and directing will pay off in helping them through those days ahead.
The kit also comes with great activity ideas that go along with each session. It's a hands on activity that shows them the concept in a real way. Both of the girls loved this part of each session. It takes a little prep work on my part to gather the supplies and do ahead what needs done, but it's totally worth the extra time.
The kit encourages planning one fun activity for you to take your child to, such as play or music concert. Take them somewhere that they have an interest in or would enjoy seeing. We didn't do anything special except spend the day shopping. That's usually what our fun activity is. Diella hates shopping for clothes, so I was so worried our day wouldn't be fun. By the end she was grabbing dresses to try on that she just thought would be fun to try on, not that she was interested in the style. That was fun for her to get out of her comfort zone and just have fun. I also enjoyed helping another lady with a dress she was trying on for her daughter's wedding. That was interesting to throw that in there as we were spending the weekend preparing Diella's heart for those days ahead and here is a mom who is planning for her daughter's wedding. It was fun to help her and talk with her as she tried on dresses.
So, that's what we do. By the end of the weekend I ask if they have heard about any of the stuff we'd discussed from friends or others. Both of my girls hadn't heard anything and was evident by the questions they asked and the way they handled the information. I know our culture is changing in this world and children get exposed to more and more worldly things, but we talk all the time about why that has to happen. Why do we have to conform to the ways of the world because we are surrounded by it? Why do we have to do things the way the world does things to keep our children up to speed with what's going on around them? Why do we have to let them hear and see what's going on in the world to prepare them for the bad? WE DON'T!!!! We limit our children's internet time, though as they get older they get more, but it's still monitored. We don't talk with them about every detail of life when they are super young. They can't handle the information and then don't know how to properly process it to fully understand what it's about. We choose the families we are around so that our children are being influenced by other families who think the same way we do. I applaud all the families we are around on a regular basis that my children didn't hear anything from their children. That's one thing I appreciate about home schooling is that we can direct that area a little and as they get older and start to choose their own friends and are around others in the work field, they have a good foundation of what type of people are truly good people to choose as friends.
Will all my children walk this part of life out perfectly? I doubt it, but I sure hope so. We have a part to play in actively teaching and training them in the way they should go. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes some purposeful decisions to lead them in a certain direction and not let the world influence otherwise. If you have wondered how to handle these subjects with your youth, I highly recommend this kit. It's so well put together and makes it easy for discussion with parents and child. I hope this has encouraged you to direct your family how you want, not how others around you walk out this part of life. Make the choice for you and your children!!!