There is something about one-on-one time that can make something ordinary feel extraordinary. If my husband and I get to go out to dinner by ourselves, it feels like a special occasion even if we just get fast food. The same concept applies to my children; they love to have one-on-one time with us. Whenever I get to spend that quality time with my boys, we call it a date. They get so excited and I do, too.
There are several reasons why I’m dating my sons:
I try to give them each some one-on-one time with me each day, but it is usually not for an extended period of time due to naps, meals, etc. So, when we get to spend a few hours together and they have Mommy all to themselves, it’s a big deal. At this stage in their lives, this is probably the most beneficial reason we go on dates.
Someday, they are going to meet someone that they feel is special enough that they would like to spend time with them one-on-one. Of course, we are far from this stage in their lives, but it is never too early to prepare their minds and hearts.
I have many parenting goals – both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, the boys get to choose what they would like to do on our dates. They plan where we will eat and then the activity that we will enjoy. Usually, it involves a fast food restaurant and the park or the train station. That is what they love to do and I love sharing it with them.
My long-term focus is to teach them that when they go out on a date with a girl they are romantically interested in, they need to have a plan. While considering her likes and dislikes, as well as her interests, they need to carefully choose a place to eat and perhaps an activity that they can both enjoy. This will show her that they cared enough about the time they were about to spend together by thinking about it beforehand. Also, by having a plan, it is less likely that they will find themselves in situations that they might later come to regret.
On a personal note, I didn’t go on many dates, but it was always frustrating to me when someone would ask me on a date and then show up without a plan. Call me old-fashioned, but I have always felt that for the first few dates, the man should take the lead in the planning. After you get to know each other better, then feel free to plan together or let her plan the date.
I don’t have to wait until our date nights to teach my sons about manners, but our special time together gives us a chance to put manners into practice outside of our home. Of course, we say ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me,’ and all of that good stuff. But, I also teach them to open doors, pull out chairs, and thank the wait staff. Granted, they are not always strong enough to open the doors and we sometimes sit in booths, but you get the picture. They also love to think that they are paying for our meal. My oldest son usually offers to pay. I will give him some money and let him think that it is his. He beams with pride when he can pay for our dinner.
Chivalry is not dead and I want my kids to prove it. Having good manners shows someone that you respect them and find them worthy of the best possible treatment. I will expect my sons to be chivalrous and respectful to their dates, just as I would expect their dates to be respectful in return. Another way I am old-fashioned, but I think the man should pay for the dates. If he is asking a woman to join him for the evening, he should be financially responsible. If he is making a plan and considering his budget while doing so, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Again, after a few dates, split the cost or she can pay every once in a while, but the man should take the lead in this area. It’s all a part of having good manners.
My purpose in ‘dating’ my sons is to have fun with them. I love them both so much and I genuinely enjoy spending time with them. We are making memories that I hope will last a lifetime. I also want to prepare them for their future.
People have often said to me, “Oh, he’s going to be a heartbreaker!” or, “He’s going to break all the girls’ hearts when he gets older!” Now, obviously I know that these are just meant to be cute things that people say and they don’t mean much by them, but whenever I hear these sayings I think, “I hope not.” I hope and pray that my sons don’t take the feelings of others lightly. I hope and pray that they don’t string girls along and break their hearts. I hope and pray that they are thoughtful with their words and actions by not saying things they think their dates want to hear or doing things that they can’t take back.
I don’t want my sons to date a girl just to say that they are dating someone. Dating should be fun, but I want them to consider the ramifications of what it means to date someone. Yes, you are getting to know a person better, but ultimately, the purpose of dating is to see if that person is someone you could spend the rest of your life with. That’s heavy stuff and it’s why I believe the decision to date someone should not be taken lightly. I have my future daughters-in-law in mind and I want to give them a wonderful husband.
Right now, my sons are much too young to understand that our date nights are meant to prepare them for anything more than just a fun time with their Mom. On one such night out, I asked my oldest son what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without hesitation and with a lot of passion, he said, “I want to be a MAN!” I laughed and told his Dad when we got home that night. We are certainly going to do all we can to get him there.
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