How do you teach the wisdom of this to 12 and 13 year old girls... who most of still think boys have cooties? ...And the few who no longer stress about cooties, have already chosen to date early?
Dating is a hard subject at this age. But broach it, as well as the consequences of not following the prophets' counsel (= commandments from Heavenly Father), we did.
Rather than dwelling too much on the group dating aspect of the lesson, instead the discussion seemed to focus on not dating at all until the appropriate time. We called it what it is: early dating = disobedience to commandments & unnecessary risk at this age.
Impressively, the girls handled it well and were QUITE engaged in this lesson. We laughed & talked turkey. Not one of them seemed shy about asking questions, nor were they unable to grasp the gravity of possible consequences that follow (such as teen pregnancy)... not to mention what sacrifices may have to be made if they were to choose to date earlier than Church standards or their parents' rules. Definitely brought a wave of relief over me that they were "getting" it.
So the companion handout for today's lesson (tastefully) did not mince words:
On top of the lesson, each girl was given a quote from the lesson to ponder, study out, and pray over for the next week. From that quote and study, each girl was asked to record their thoughts, official stand on dating & personal declaration of their standards regarding the temptation to date early. The hope is that this lesson will stick, and their documented declaration of obedience will be more powerful in their lives than the temptations which they will eventually face.
I will say that I loved this lesson. My touched heart was poured into it.
Even one of my favorite quotes, from one of my new-favorite movies, came to my mind & was incorporated into the lesson (from Courageous):
"You can't go out on a date with anyone until they come talk to me, and they have no business talking to me until your 17. If a boy has asked you to go anywhere with him, it's a date." -Nathan Hayes (emphasis added)
(If you haven't seen that movie yet, do it. The full conversation that character has with his daughter is priceless & quite validating!)
And if you haven't taught this lesson yet, or feel it would be a great Family Night lesson, feel free to use the handout printables below.
Pearing Up Recipe for Disaster 5perPG
***OH! And by the way, got to spend a beautiful Friday morning photographing the most splendid little miracle baby this past week. You should go see how lovely the session turned out with Lil' Miss J!***