PARENTING FROM THE VIEW OF TEENAGER

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Pop

Pop died a year ago today. I remember it like it was yesterday.52fd31e9ca16b48427b774c9

I keep a diary. For the past two years, I’ve documented every day of my life in a diary. I call them, “The Dear Mom Diaries” because instead of “Dear Diary” I write, “Dear Mom”. I started The Dear Mom Diaries as a way to communicate with my mom. I address each entry to my mom because each entry is meant to be a letter to her. The way it works is that my parents are allowed to read any of my diaries at any time for any reason. That’s why I write them. They can see how I’m feeling, what I’ve been up to, and things like that. Right now, I’m on diary #14 and in two years I have written 2,516 pages of diary entries. Because I keep a diary, and diligently write about each day, I have those seven, heart-breaking weeks carefully documented on 348 pages (two full diaries) it took from the day Pop was diagnosed to the day of his funeral. I read some of those pages today for the first time since I wrote them.

These are some of my diary entries from those seven weeks.

Entry 1: The Day I Found Out About Pop

Diary #2

Dear Mom,                                              Day 213              1:33am          Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please No…

…I woke up too early. 6:30am. Actually, I did a few things before getting ready for school… After school, Aaron and I drove to drama. He and I were talking about my artificial sugar fast tomorrow… Drama was fun. I got to tap dance some more. The class ends at 7:00pm. I left at 7:05pm because they were going over and I had to go straight to Beauty and the Beast Rehearsal… When I got home, I put on my PJ’s and went to your room. You were in your bed, with your computer in your lap. Something was off with you until you finally said, “Lacy, I had a really rough day.” I knew bad news was headed my way, but I never saw this coming. Tears filled your eyes as you whispered, “Lacy, Pop has cancer.” And you lost it. You and I both cried together. From what you said, it doesn’t look good.

“He has lived a good life, and has a family who adores him.” –You (mom)

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                            Ps. i love you

Lacy

                         

When you keep a diary and write about each day, two things become very important: The first page, and the last page. The first page a fresh start, the last page is like the season finale of a TV show. The last page is the most important. It’s always interesting to go back and compare the first page and the last page of my diaries and see what all has happened. Diary #2 is a 402 paged, leather-bound diary, with sheet music decorating the cover. I started it on July 17, 2013, and finished it on February 6, 2014. That diary tells the story of the best year of my life, so far. It took me 213 days to fill it up. Day 213 was the day I found out about Pop. That last entry set the tone for the rest of the year.

As I read my own words about a man who I’d been so close to and loved so much, I see how strong Pop really was. I never saw him cry or get angry. He wasn’t mad at God, and didn’t to the sweet bliss of denial, like I did. He was at peace. Pop’s attitude is what kept that tragedy from leaving wounds that time wouldn’t be able to heal.

Entry 2: Pop Cracking Jokes in the Hospital

Diary #3

    Dear Mom,                Day 26      1:21am    Tuesday     March 4, 2014

Hospital Visit

…I got glitter everywhere. Daddy left at 6:15am. You were at the hospital all day… Evan and I stopped by. I was only going to stay for about 15 minutes because I had to get to dance, but I had much rather stayed with Pop, so I did. Mr. Nash came by to bring Tutu dinner. He stayed on for a while; it was nice to talk to him. I sat right beside Pop pretty much the whole time. His pain level was at a 6, but he handled it well.

Tutu went home before us. The three nurses who were helping Pop, MJ, Danielle, and Mike were all so nice. You said that Pastor Mike and Pastor Jeff came to visit Pop. That’s really sweet.

While we were with Pop, we Skyped Connor. It was good to talk to him. He comes home Friday. Pop was funny tonight. Much of it was due to the heavy pain medication. Either way, he was funny. Tutu was funny too. We got the “bed” ready for Uncle Mike. He is staying with Pop tonight.

[Talking about the button that gives him more pain meds]

“It’s my own meth lab!” -Pop

“It’s remote cocaine!” –Pop

“Let’s go out on Georgia 400 and take a left!” –Pop

“I’m just looking for something to fix around here.” –Pop

“I got my bed, I got my hotel bathroom, I got my meth lab; I’m all set!” –Pop

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

 

Pop and Tutu lived with us for the four best years of my life. Even when they moved into their own house, they were still only ten minutes away. I am so thankful that my family has been able to have such a close relationship with my grandparents.

Entry 3: Early Easter

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                                                     Day 1     8:50pm          Sunday,                       March 23, 2014

Easter Lunch

I’m at the train station with the family. We are waiting to see Connor off. The train is thirty minutes late. Connor is working on pulling the seven hundred bobby pins out of my hair…

…We had Easter lunch with Tutu, Pop, and the Dyes. It was yummy. It was sad because we were having Easter lunch early to make sure Pop would be there. I don’t think Pop is going to make it to Easter. We all gathered around Pop’s hospital bed and Tutu volunteered to say the blessing. She got one sentence into the prayer and then broke down. But Pop stayed strong. Daddy ended up saying the prayer.

“I’m an adult…” -Connor

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

I’m so grateful for every moment I got to spend with Pop.

Entry 4: The Last Time I Saw Pop

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                         Day 6        5:01pm      Friday,          March 28, 2014

This Hurts

Daddy and I are on the way home from rehearsal. We just passed Montclair. That’s the neighborhood where Pop and Tutu used to live. I didn’t bother me until I saw that stretch of road on which Pop would drive the Gator. Memories of driving and riding the Gator with Pop flooded my mind. It’s hard not to cry. I have so many memories with Pop. I treasure all of them, but it hurts to think about them right now.

12:54am

Right after I stopped writing, we went by Pop and Tutu’s new house. Pop doesn’t look like Pop anymore. He was hallucinating. His words because slurred and he knew it. I saw him, I held his hand, and he used what little strength he had to kiss my hand.

I trust that God has a plan. He could still heal Pop. There’s still some hope; not much, but a little. I’m going to hold on to that little piece of hope for as long as I can.

“I love you.” –Pop

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

That was the last time I saw Pop before he died. It was a happy visit. No tears. Pop was smiling.

Entry 5: Pop is Healed

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                    Day 9            Wednesday, April 1, 2014

Finally Home

Pop passed away at about 6:00am. Daddy said that you, Tutu, and Uncle Mike were up all night with him. It doesn’t feel real. None of this feels real. It feels like a bad dream… I saw it coming. Daddy gets this face and tone of voice when he is about to tell us bad news. He told us about Pop, and I zoned out after that. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel anything. I was focused on getting my socks out of the laundry room.

I went upstairs and sat in front of my mirror. Calen asked me if her outfit was ok. I said yes. It took me a minute before I could tell her. She handled it just like I needed her to. She asked if I was ok, and then asked me what she could do to make today easier. Today is going to be hard. Uninformed adults are going to be asking me how Pop is doing today. The two pages I accidentally skipped a few days ago were just enough for me to write. Leave it to Pop to pass away on April Fools Day.

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

 

When I was younger, our whole family would go to the beach. Pop would wake me up early in the morning to go walk on the beach. I got to have that quality time with Pop, and I loved every minute of it. In 2007 Tutu and Pop took me on a trip to Savannah, GA. Every morning, Pop would wake me up and we would walk down River Street. He would let me pick out candy at the candy stores no matter how early it was. We would walk around for as long as I wanted. I always had so much fun. Pop and my dad have been the only ones who could wake me up early to do something I didn’t have to do. Pop also had this off road thing called the Gator that he would drive around when he worked on his yard. My brothers and I always loved driving it. Pop would take us, one at a time, to drive the Gator around the neighborhood. I was very young when I started driving the Gator. Pop told me that I would aim for all of the low hanging branches so that they’d hit him. When Pop and Tutu lived with us, Pop loved to work in our yard. He made many trips to Lowe’s Hardware store, and I usually went 531d3c6ea689b46173a22371with him. He was always so much fun to be around.

Now that a year has passed, time has begun to heal the wounds. I can think about the memories I have of Pop and smile. I have one of his sweatshirts under my bed folded in a Ziploc bag so that whenever I open it, it still smells like him. I look back at these diary pages and remember the hardest time in my family’s life. But all of the pain we’ve experienced is the price of loving someone as deeply as we loved Pop. 

Pop was such a great grandfather. He was so devoted to us. He was a fantastic husband to Tutu. They were always so adorable to watch together. They were like their own little sitcom. Pop was also a great father. My mom told me so many stories about him. Pop was on the Disaster Relief team and loved it. The men who were with him on those missions wore their yellow Disaster Relief jackets to Pops funeral, and escorted his casket to the hearse. That was my favorite part of the service. There were over 500 people at Pop’s service. He touched so many lives in so many ways. We all miss him so much, but at least we know that we’ll be reunited again one day in heaven.

I started working on lyrics for a song whenever it would hit me too hard. I finished it the day Pop died. I’ve never really shown it to anyone, until now. This is the song I wrote for Pop.

Pop’s Song

 

(Verse 1)

I’m fighting tears;

I’m being Brave;

I’m holding on;

I’m having faith.

I cling to hope,

But still I pray

That this will all

Just go away.

 

(verse 2)

Please can it be

That I’m asleep?

Say nothing’s wrong,

It’s just a dream.

So when I wake,

To my relief,

I’ll see that all’s

As it should be.

 

(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go

 

(Verse 3)

It’s getting hard.

You’re getting worse.

And though you smile,

I know it hurts.

You’re Faith in God;

It keeps us strong,

As we’re all trying

To hold on

 

(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go

(Verse 4)

Our prayers were heard,

Cause now you’re healed.

No suffering now,

Or pain you feel.

Cause now you’re home,

And home you’ll be,

With Christ for all

Eternity.

 

(Verse 5)

Don’t worry ‘bout

Your lovely bride.

I promise you,

She’ll be alright.

You will be missed;

We all will cry.

But we all know,

It not goodbye.

 

(Chorus 2)

Cause I know

You’re in God’s hands.

And though it hurts,

He has a plan.

And one day when

He calls me home,

I’ll ask him why you had to go

 

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Dating: Part Two: How You’re Raised Makes All the Difference

Part Two of Dating is for parents.

Parents, of course, make all the difference when it comes to their kid’s dating life. You have the power to mold their view on who they should want, how they expect to be treated, their motives for dating, etc. The way my parents handled dating with us is probably one of the main reasons why I’ve had such an easy high school experience. It’s made all the difference with my friends, my reputation, my feelings, and so many other things. They protected my heart from being broken over and over. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER THAT YOU HAVE!

So part two of dating is all about how the way I was raised impacted my views on dating.

The Pros and Cons of Dating:

An important fact about my childhood is that I have always been allowed to date. We never had a rule about waiting until we were in college, or eighteen, or sixteen to start dating. The decision that all three of us made to hold off on dating was entirely our own. Were we uninterested in the opposite sex, no, not at all. I love men; they love women. That has never been a problem. I attribute our individual decisions to many things; but one thing, in particular, that stands out is what we call, “Weighing the pros and cons”.  This was a technique that my parents used to let us talk ourselves out of dating. Whenever we would ask them if we could date someone, they would have us weigh the pros and cons of being in a relationship at our age. For example, here is what the pros and cons were for me when I was in middle school:

Pros Cons
It’s cool to have a boyfriend You ignore your other friends
It feels good to date Heartbreak is almost inevitable
It’s fun at the time If/when you break up, he becomes baggage
You get to feel another person’s “love Friends get jealous
Boys aren’t mature yet
He can’t drive, and if he can, he’s too old for you
You start playing the “dating game”, so you become less of a challenge for guys.
It’s a distraction
Rumors can spread
He doesn’t have a job, so he can’t buy you things or take you to nice places

These are just some of them.

So looking at this chart, does dating look like it’s worth it at that age? No. I only just thought of those examples off the top of my head. My parents never told me them, they let me decide. So, after going through the list, I remembered why I didn’t want to start dating yet.

This pros and cons system is brilliant for many reasons. I will go down the list.

Reasons Why the Pros and Cons List is BRILLIANT:

  1. I MADE MY OWN DECISION!!!  I can’t even stress to you enough why this is important. This concept changes everything.
  1. You can’t change the behavior without changing their minds. The pros and cons list was used to let me convince myself why dating was a bad idea when I was younger. My parents got their point across without making any rules.
  • There is no way that I would’ve gone seventeen years without dating if my parents had just told me not to. NO WAY. I’ve always been very impulsive and rebellious. If not for my own pleasure, I would’ve dated out of rebellion. It’s not enough to just say, “No”. You have to take the time to explain why. If you don’t explain why, or show that it’s important, then it will turn into “just one of those rules they make for no reason, or so they don’t have to deal with it”. If it turns into that kind of rule, then they’ll just do it behind your back. It’s so much easier if you can find a way to make them agree with you, that way they will want to obey. The pros and cons list allowed it to because my decision, even though it was theirs. They influenced it, yes, but I made the final decision. I didn’t have to follow my parent’s rules on dating because I made my own.
  1. Your kids won’t hate you… as much
  • I never hated my parents. Ever. I could’ve, if they’d done it differently, but they didn’t. Dating is one of the things that could’ve made me hate them. But they handled it correctly.
  1. This goes hand-in-hand with making my own decisions. My parents handled it so that they were on my side, defending my decision, instead of fighting against me, telling me why I’m wrong. They were never the enemy. They let me weigh the pros and cons of dating, let me make my own decision, and made themselves my coaches, playing on the same team instead of being my opponents. This spares us COUNTLESS arguments.

It really is a brilliant technique.

 

No Need for Dating:

My blog post titled, “Daddy Dates” covers this whole point, basically. For more detail, read that post.

The gist of it, though, as it applies to dating, is that my dating life was greatly influenced by my relationship with my dad, as well as my brothers.

Every girl has an emotional “tank” that needs to be filled with her father’s love, and then the love of her husband; A need for the acceptance of a man. I believe that it is a characteristic that God designed for the same purpose He has for love in general. The instinctual need to be accepted and loved by a father, or a masculine figure, I think, has to do with our Heavenly Father’s love for us, as His daughters. Just like marriage and the love between man and wife is supposed to symbolize the marriage and love between God and the Church, I think that God wants us girls to have a taste of His love for us by experiencing the love our daddies have for their little girls. I may be TOTALLY wrong, but based on what I’ve read in the bible, that’s how I think.images (2)

So this “tank” we girls have is a sensitive thing. If our daddies properly fill it up, then we are satisfied and don’t need to look any further until the time comes when they look for a husband. However, many daddies aren’t fully aware of this tank. So, unfortunately, their girls don’t get what they need. If a girl’s love “tank” isn’t filled with their daddy’s love, then they will go to someone else to fill it. This emotional need MUST be met. If this emotional need is not met, it can cause serious problems such as depression, low self-esteem, and plenty of other problems. So a girl WILL find a way to fix it. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, they will do ANYTHING to get their fix. So they’ll end up in an abusive relationship but do nothing about it because either they don’t feel like their worth it, or they’re that desperate to feel that “love” from a man.

It doesn’t always become that intense, but it can. In many cases, girls who start dating at a very young age, and/or are serial daters have this problem. They look anywhere to find a boy/guy/man to fill up their tank. They often get their hearts broken over and over in the effort to fulfil that emotional need to be loved by a man.

My daddy saved me from this. He went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that my “love tank” was so full, that it took me years to even know that I had one. My needs were satisfied to the point where I didn’t even know that I had them. My tank was never less than full. Because of this, I never felt the need to start dating. All I saw in dating was recreational fun. Yes, I thought it would be fun, but I never once felt the need to date. I never needed the “love” or acceptance of another man because I already had all that I needed. I will never be able to fully understand from how much heartache my dad protected me.

My dad protected my heart with everything he had. He did anything and everything he could to ensure that my heart was thoroughly guarded and safe. Because of this, my heart has been kept in perfect condition for the man I’ll one day marry.

Watching and Waiting before You Start Dating:

It’s a dumb little rhyme, but it’s very useful. This point is going to be better explored in my next post, but I’ll go ahead and get it started.

One of the best things that I learned by waiting to date, is to watch and wait. My parents taught me this. There have been plenty of times when I’ve been interested in a guy, but since I didn’t date, I just became friends with him. 99% of the time, when I got to know him, he no longer interested me. If I had immediately wanted to date him I would’ve only looked at the thinks I liked, then if we started dating, I would quickly see that I didn’t really like him at all. Then before you know it, feelings are hurt, friendships are ruined, and baggage begins to pile. Most of those guys are some of my best friends, today. I’ll never date any of them, but I value their friendship.

In many cases, it’s one of those, “light travels faster than sound” things. They may seem really bright, until you hear them speak. If you just wait and watch before pursuing a relationship, you can easily rule the ones who lose your interest. Simple as that.

My next post will give a good example of this.

Set Standards:

It’s really important to know what you’re looking for. You don’t want to find just anybody, regardless of what kind of dating you’re into.

When I was about fourteen, I made a list of standards for my future boyfriend. I still have it today. I made a list to remind myself what kind of man I want, and who to look for. The lists that I made as a little girl were mostly superficial things, but this one had my real requirements based on beliefs, values, and characteristics. My list was based on what I saw in my dad. I didn’t want an exact copy of my dad, but I wanted a man who would treat me like my dad has always treated my mom. I didn’t want anything less than what was on my list, because I knew that a man with all of those hard to find qualities was no fairytale, because I saw all of them in my dad. My mom and dad’s marriage is a fairytale, but it’s real, so I know it can be achieved. My dad set the standards for my future husband, and my parents set the standards for my future marriage. It’s no daydream because I’ve seen it done my whole life.

If my relationship with my dad was different, and my parent’s marriage was different, then my standards would be different. I wouldn’t expect the best if I didn’t know it was out there. And I was happy wait as long as I needed for the right man to make that dream a reality.

My mom said that their marriage based on this phrase: “Choose wisely; treat kindly”.

Choose the right person, and then treat them with kindness. They live by that phrase, and I’ve seen how it works.

Recognizing Your Own Flaws:

My parents have always been good about recognizing their flaws. They know where they struggle, and they admit it when they’re at fault. There have been plenty of instances when one of my parents had a fault pointed out to them, respectfully, and if they’re in the wrong they effortlessly apologize. Instead of continuing with the same flaw, they work to change it. They’ve taught me to find my own shortcomings instead of just look for them in others.

I knew from the beginning that the man who I date and hopefully marry would have to live up to nearly impossible standards. I am basically the carbon-copy of my mom, but I also have many handed-down characteristics of my dad. I have a whole post coming up about my mom, so you’ll get to know her better later; I’ve written a lot about my dad, so you may have some understanding of his ways.

My parents are both very easy going. There isn’t a high-strung person in my family. We’ve always been very go-with-the-flow about things. Fortunately, I have that trait. I was raised in a very fun, exciting, peaceful, loving, consistent, nurturing environment. I was raised that way. My parents have never been quick to accuse, short-tempered, irritable, or irrational. I’ve always appreciated that. I have my dad’s attention span, my mom’s mannerisms, my dad’s socially extroverted personality, but my mom’s shyness, my dad’s impishness, my mom’s nocturnal habits, and plenty of other things.

However, I also have plenty of flaws. When you’re thinking of what you want in a spouse, you have to think about what a spouse would want in you. In order to find a good husband/wife, you need to look at yourself and see what you have to offer. Why would someone want to marry you?

I’ve thought about this a lot. Yes, I have some good characteristics, but I also have many, many bad ones. Some, I can work on to change; but others are things that I can’t help.

Some flaws of mine that I can and do work on are things like, irritability, impatience, self-centeredness, impulsiveness, being inconsiderate, difficulty keeping things clean, and being annoying. These are things I work on daily. They are real struggles of mine. I’m much better about these things than I used to be. I have worked hard to improve. But the first step was recognizing my flaws. It’s easy to overlook our own flaws, because they usually don’t bother us. But in order to be a good girlfriend/wife, I have to prepare myself to be as perfect as I can be for him by working to get rid of these flaws.

Unfortunately, I have some flaws that I can either do very little to help or nothing at all. Some of them are completely out of my control. For example, I have a sensory disorder called Misophonia that causes certain sounds to suddenly enrage me if I hear them. This is something that had caused me problems throughout my whole life. I just all of the sudden get angry and I can’t calm down until the noise stops. Some of these noises include: breathing, whistling, humming, certain vocal tones/inflections, breathing, soft/quiet, music, chewing, certain words, breathing, and… the sound of a strumming guitar. These are the main offenders.  This has played a MAJOR role in all of my relationships because I cannot be around people who make these noises. I have learned to stay calm and not yell at people, but it is still a major problem. This drastically narrowed down the potential suitors. I always knew that I would need a man who would make none of these noises, and who wouldn’t ever make a game of it, or provoke me.

Another major flaw that I have to take into consideration is my emotional instability. I suffer with chronic, severe anxiety and occasionally struggle with depression. Anxiety can be crippling and depression can be crushing. It affects every aspect of my life. It’s a struggle that I have accepted, but still have to deal with. I’ve always known that his flaw can be very detrimental to a relationship, so I knew to look for someone who can be strong when I can’t be, as well as patient when I struggle.

Another thing I can’t help is a little something called ADHD. I can work on it, yes, but it is a problem. I have a very short attention span and I can be quite impulsive. I can also come across uninterested because sometimes I “change channels” while someone is talking to me, or walk away. It not because I’m uninterested, it’s just because my brain decides to move on without me. This is a flaw that could be quite grating to a spouse. My dad is the same way, but my mom handles it fine. She doesn’t take things personally. So I knew I would need a man who could do the same for me.

I took a good look at myself to see what I had to offer. I have some good aspects, but I have lots and lots of flaws. Do I expect anything less than my standards, no, not at all. The thing is, yes, I’m flawed. Yes, I struggle. But I work on becoming better every day. I don’t just sit back and hope that it will go away, or that my perfect man will accept all of my issues without me trying to make them better. I don’t just want to find the best boyfriend to make the best husband; I want to be the best girlfriend I can be and become the best wife possible. It’s a two-way street.

Choose wisely, treat kindly.

Now, with all of these factors that went into my thoughts on dating, all I had to do was wait and enjoy life as a single, until the right man came my way.

And he did.

Dating: Part 1: Things to Consider before You Start Dating

Dating: Part 1- Things to Consider before You Start Dating

Some of the points I make on this topic are ones that I’ve touched on in my other posts, so check out those if you want to dive deeper.

I am not expecting everyone to agree with what this post will say, but it won’t hurt you to read it.

Before I start, I want to remind you that everyone is different when it comes to love and relationships. Everyone has different desires, different needs, different struggles, different boundaries, and different techniques to their relationships. The way I go about my romantic relationship would work for some people, but not for others, so try to remember that what I write may not apply to everyone.

Also, the views I share in all of my posts, especially this one, are all my own. I was never told how to think. I was lead in the direction of my views, yes, but I’ve always been allowed to make my own decisions with my beliefs. This is a very important fact. Remember it.

So let’s dive right into it.

Recreational VS Intentional Dating:

There are two types of dating: Recreational and Intentional. Each is VERY different than the other.

Recreational Dating:

The purpose of recreational dating is simply to have fun. People who date recreationally are really more looking for a good time than a real relationship. RD isn’t meant for anything serious. You don’t go into this kind of relationship to try to find someone to marry. It’s very casual. This kind of dating can lead to marriage, but it definitely isn’t the starting goal.

Pros of RD:

There can be perks to this kind of dating. I can be less pressuring, more relaxed, and all around lighter. There isn’t a lot of commitment involved. It can be very enjoyable. It’s more of an amplified friendship. And there’s less expectation to live up to. It really can be good for some people, if done correctly.

Cons of RD:

This kind of dating can lead to unexpected heartbreak. The problem is that even though in the beginning it’s purely casual, the feelings towards each other can change. So one person might still be purely casual, but the other may’ve developed stronger feeling than intended. Then it becomes complicated and awkward. One may fall madly in love with the other, but the other might be ready to move on. It’s very unpredictable. Also, it is an unnecessary distraction from work, school, family, friends, etc. It’s easier to be cheated, left, betrayed, and things like that because of the lack of commitment and the choice of partner.

Intentional Dating:

The main purpose of intentional dating is to find a compatible person to marry. This kind of dating has a real purpose. It’s not a game or a pass-time; it’s an endeavor to find a spouse.  When intentionally date, you don’t date just anyone, you find someone who you think is a possible candidate for a husband/wife, weeding out anyone who doesn’t seem to fit.

Pros of Intentional Dating:

Since the end goal is to get married, you usually pick better people to date, saving time, money, heartache, etc. You’re not going to waste your time on just anyone. It can be very exciting because you’re going somewhere in your relationship; you have a goal instead of just remaining stagnant. You form a deep bond with someone. You get to start planning and thinking about the future with more detail. Since both people have the same goal in mind, there is less chance of an awkward, unforeseen, romantic imbalance. Fewer exes. You still aren’t “playing the game”. You find “the one”, usually.

Cons of Intentional Dating:

Yes, there are fewer breakups, but they can be much more painful. Since the intention is to see if you’re compatible enough for marriage, it is much more serious. So when a breakup happens, the wound can take much longer to heal. It isn’t as casual as RD. There is a lot more commitment expected. Expectations are much higher. But the main con of ID is the pain that can come from it. Cheating, falling for someone else, breakups, or anything like that can be devastating and dream-crushing. But, these things are MUCH less likely to happen, if you choose wisely.

There is SO much more that goes into both of these types of dating. This just a very general overview.

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The Pros and Cons of Dating/ Is It Worth It?:

When you consider dating, regardless of your age, you have to consider the pros and cons. When thinking of the pros and cons, you need to consider these kinds of things:

  • Age
  • Maturity
  • Emotions
  • Motives
  • Time
  • Logistics
  • Reputation
  • Spirituality

There are more, but let’s start with these.

Age: How old are you? How old is the person you want to date? Are you at an age where marriage is in the foreseeable future, or do you still line up at the door to leave your classroom?

Maturity: Are you ready for a relationship? Is the other person ready? Are you going to be suspicious every time some looks at or talks to the person you like, or get into stupid dating drama because you’re not mature enough to handle it? Are either of you at the maturity level that can handle a relationship?

Emotions: Are either of you emotionally ready? Can you handle all of the emotions that come with dating?

Motives: Why do you want to date? To make someone else jealous? To be rebellious? To look cool? To just have someone to pay attention to you? To feel wanted? Or to find someone to spend the rest of your life with?

Time: Do either of you have time to be in a relationship, or is each day packed in with work, school, lacrosse practice, cheerleading practice, church, family, friends, etc.? Will you be able to pay attention to your boyfriend/girlfriend while juggling all of your other commitments?

Logistics: Do either of you have a job, or a car? How close do you live to each other? How often can you see each other? How far apart do you live; a few miles, a few states, on separate continents?

Reputation: How will your reputation be effected by dating this person, or anyone? Will it help or hurt your reputation? Will you been seen as easy to get? Will you be labeled a man/girl-stealer? Is the person going to lift you up, or tear you down?

Spirituality: Where are both of you spiritually? Are you strong in your faith? Is the person you like a Christian? Is the person you like a good Christian? Will they make you stronger or weaker?

Ask these questions and the make your own pros and cons list and see if it’s worth it.

The Differences Between Boys, Guys, Men, and Gentlemen:

It helped a lot that I thought boys were morons. They said dumb things, smelled weird, threw rocks at your face as a sign of infatuation; I never saw anything that made me want to spend more time with boys than I had to (other than my brothers).

Boys:

Ages 5-12 (any age before that is a little boy). Typically wide-eyed, rambunctious, silly, loud, gross, etc. Boys are boys. It’s just a part of life. There’s no hate towards boys, they’re just not datable yet. At this point, they’re in the “ewww girls” stage, where if they like a girl, they don’t admit it. They just pay extra attention to their crush by throwing things at them, or being rude. Precious babies, they are. Fascinated by any little thing that girls would find gross.

Guys:

Ages 13-? Guys can stay guys forever, or become men at an early age. It’s all based on maturity. Guys are usually are usually in middle school or early high school when they’re at they’re worst. They tend to skip showering, changing cloths, and putting on deodorant and then mask the stink with an exorbitant amount of Axe Body Spray. They’re immature on many levels and often resort to sexually based humor for fun. It’s an awkward phase at first, but it can being cut short or prolonged depending on the guy. Socially acceptable to date, but not worth it, yet.

Men:

25ish-death society believes that guys turn into men when they become adults. This is true. A man is a matter of age, as well as maturity. A man is typically thought to be a working, tax paying, male, who has flown-the-coup. Of course, this is not always the case, but that’s typically what you think of. Men are dateable. All men are different, but at this point, they’re more independent and have their lives going.

Gentlemen:

A gentleman is not classified by age. Its based on emotional maturity, as well as manners and values. This is a matter of choice. A gentleman knows, not only how to treat a lady, but how to act in social situations as well as behave in private settings. They are prime for dating.

I once read, “Being a boy is a matter of chance. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.”

Now all of these descriptions are based on what girls should see when they consider relationships for each group, not ageneralization of males during their stages of growing up. 

THERE ARE TONS OF GREAT THINGS ABOUT EACH GROUP OF MALES.

I’ll have a whole separate blog post about girls. That’s a whole other topic.

 

 

 

The Consequence of Heartbreak:

This is a part of dating that nobody really considers. It seems that when people date, they tend to focus too much on the excitement of the moment, instead of the consequences. There are plenty of consequences that can come from both types of dating. But the one I want to discuss is heartbreak.images (1)

Every time someone experiences a break up, a little piece of their heart dies; the more painful the break up, the bigger the piece. For a lot of people, they date and break up so many times, that by the time they find “the one” they don’t have any of their heart left to give.

No one really thinks about this. But it’s true. There are so many problems with heartbreak. It causes emotional scarring, which can be very hard to heal; as well as temporary or permanent pain. The pain of a breakup is unbearable, I’ve been told. Anyone who has seen the second Twilight movie saw how much emotional turmoil Bella went through when Edward left, even though his intentions were good. A breakup is a crushing experience, and each time it happens, it takes a piece of you with it. So if that happens over and over through the years, you’re left with little to nothing left.

Also, each breakup leaves baggage; and you bring that baggage into every other relationship. It can make it very hard to trust your heart with someone else because it’s been broken so many times. It can destroy a great relationship because it makes you so paranoid the person is going to do the same things the others have done. Even if they deserve your trust, it’s almost impossible for you to give it to them because you’ve been so scarred.

If you wait and watch before you jump into a relationship, it can save you from that.

Now, it’s fine to make rules about dating. Some kids might not agree with the pros and cons list. This is just how it worked with me, and why my thoughts are.

Dating isn’t a bad thing. Dating is great! It’s how you find the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life. It’s exiting! However, it can be EXTREMELY painful. I think that if you wait until you and who you date are at a good maturity level, it will drastically reduce your chances of having your heart broken. It can also keep you from having the bad serial-dater reputation. You don’t want to be an easy catch for guys or girls, do you? No! You want to be a challenge. You want to be the one they can’t have! Because then, when the right person comes along, it makes it that much more special. You have time to focus on your friends when your single and you stay out of the crazy girl drama. There are so many great things about waiting to date until you find someone who’s worth it.

Daddy’s Girl

I remember growing up and watching the little things that my dad would do. Some things have gone away, but others… not so much. He still calls me, “Lala”. He’s always called me that. My dad does so many things that go unnoticed and unappreciated, but he does then anyway. I remember how every Saturday, my dad would entertain my brothers and me so that my mom could sleep in. He always brought her coffee to her in the morning, until Connor decided to take over the task during his senior year in high school. But my dad didn’t stop there. Since Connor had taken over bringing my mom coffee, my dad decided that he would wake up even earlier to bring coffee to Connor.
My dad does funny things. For example: it seems like whenever there is food in the kitchen, my dad MUST stick it in the oven “to keep it warm”. Now, why do I think that this is funny? Because he ALWAYS does it. It doesn’t matter if we are planning to throw it away, the food must be serve time in the oven. It’s always sweet, though, because dad does it so that our food doesn’t get cold. This is just one of the small and overlooked acts of kindness that my dad does for us. Another example: my dad has always prayed with us before bed. I have always admired and appreciated that about him. His prayers have had little variation over the years, which has turned his prayers into something like a spoken lullaby, but still the words are just as powerful. He has always opened his prayers by thanking God for us, and tells God how much he loves us. He prays that we will be “stepping stones” and never “stumbling blocks”; and that we will be “a light in a lost and dying world.” My favorite part of the prayer was the “hedge of protection” that he prayed would protect us. We would giggle because of how silly it sounded, but now I understand what it means and I’m so thankful for it.

Another amazing thing about dad is his quiet time routine. Dad has always has a quiet time every morning. He reads his devotion, prays, and writes his devotional blog. This Christmas, he finished his 365 day devotional blog, and mom had it turned into a book. Dad did those devotionals so that it would eventually be a devotional for my brother’s and me. HE WROTE US A DEVOTIONAL… My devotion book that dad wrote is my most prized possession, and I use it on a regular basis. He is very diligent with his quiet time, to the point where if he skips a quiet time, it puts him in a bad mood.

Dad has always treated mom like a princess. My parents’ marriage is unlike any I’ve ever seen. Of course, there are struggles, just like in any marriage, but my parents work together regardless of the situation. They have been married for twenty-something years, but mom still gets so excited when dad comes home from work every day. They are always trying to out-serve each other; dad making mom her coffee every morning, mom scratching dad’s head every night until he falls asleep, there are so many little things that they are constantly doing for each other. Mom tells me that dad has never once said anything negative about her appearance. He doesn’t lie and say she looks good if she doesn’t (but, then again, my mom is gorgeous. She always looks good.), instead, he just doesn’t comment about it at all. But then, when he likes how she looks, HE SHOWERS HER WITH COMPLIMENTS. That’s such a good way to go about it, I think. Smart man.

Dad and I have one major thing in common, and that is our attention span (or lack there of). It is a challenge for us because our minds move at 100 mph. So it is VERY common for mom to be saying something to dad, and my dad will get distracted by something else. It’s not that he doesn’t care about what she’s saying, or that he’s trying to be rude, it just happens. I know, I’m the same way. But my mom never gets mad at him. She’ll use her hands as blinders on dad, so that he has nowhere to look but at her. It’s funny to watch that. My parents are always laughing.

I love to watch dad watch mom. You can easily tell that he think’s that she is the cutest thing on earth. He gets this smile when he looks at her that would melt any heart. He loves her so deeply and it shows. I want to be as great of a wife as my mom is, and I want to marry a man who will love me as deeply and treat me a well as dad does with mom.

Dad is such a leader. He’s the rock of our family. My favorite thing about him is his devotion to the Lord. He puts God before everything else, and I truly believe that that is why my family works so well. Dad reads and studies and lives the Bible. I can see the effort he makes to always be an ambassador for Christ. I see it in the way he treats me, my brothers, my mom, and everyone he’s around. I see it in the way he runs his business, and how treats his employees. I think I saw it the clearest in the wake of an awful business fallout when this scum bag business man stabbed my dad in the back. Dad had so much bitterness and hatred towards him, but instead of wishing death on him, or holding on to his hate, he put his own feelings aside prayed for the man everyday. He prayed that God would touch the man’s heart and that he would find salvation. I was mad and I didn’t even know what happened, but my dad just told me to pray that he finds Jesus. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that.

Dad makes me so proud. I have a difficult time showing affection towards men. Nothing caused it, that’s just how I am. Because of this, it’s hard for me to express to dad how much I love and need him. He doesn’t hear, “I love you” enough, he doesn’t get hugs enough, he doesn’t get thanked enough for everything he does for me and our family. The way I say, “I love you” is by spending quality time with you, but my dad’s love language is acts of service. It’s hard for me to remember how to speak his love language. I adore my dad, but it’s impossible to show him how much. I’m so thankful and proud to be his daughter.

P.S. I love you, daddy.
Love,
Lala

Learn to Freaking Calm Yourself…

One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 15:1“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh answer stirs up anger.” I, for real, live by this verse. It’s a well known stereo-type that red-heads have hot tempers- and I can tell you first-hand that this is 100% true. I’ve definitely calmed down a ton since I was younger; but as a kid, it was not unusual for me to lose it. I was always physically violent. My little brother, Evan, who is sixteen now, had his butt handed to him on a regular basis for no good reason. I was horrible. But at the time, I thought that he was a little ninny and needed to be toughened up. Now he’s sixteen, strong, handsome, and has some serious pain tolerance. I was a terrible sister back then. I was mean. However, one day some guys were playing around with Evan and got a little too rough. This wasn’t uncommon. But any time I saw Evan getting even remotely mistreated, I would have this overwhelming need to protect him and would gladly beat the snot out of anyone who mistreated him. I’d NEVER let ANYBODY hurt MY little brother. And then it dawned on me… All this time I was always trying to protect him from everybody else, but all along, the one who caused him the most pain was me. After that I REALLY worked hard to change things. And I did. Now Evan, Connor, and I are best friends and we get along great. Evan and I still throw punches and whatnot, but it’s all in good fun.

Proverbs 12:18 says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

But here is something that not even Evan knows. There was a reason why I always attacked him physically instead of verbally. It would’ve been so easy to just spit out piercing words at him. It leaves no physical marks, so I would’ve gotten in a lot less trouble. But even when I was mean, abusive, and ignorant, I thought through my actions. The only reason why I chose to throw punches instead of insults is because I knew how hard my punches would hit him, and the damage they would do. Punches only hurt on the surface.  Words, however, cut deep. I could never know the full impact of my words and how much pain they would cause. I knew the damage that words could do, so I never even went there.

You’re probably thinking, “How could you have been so ignorant about everything else, but have a grip on that concept?” It’s simple. I knew not to use words as weapons because that was how I was raised. 

The problem is that many parents underestimate the power of their words. A parent would die for their child without a second thought, so they often assume that they couldn’t possibly be the one who is hurting their kid the most. For example, if a parent saw their child being verbally bullied by another person, they wouldn’t think twice about defending them. But if they go right around and scream, shout, and holler at them constantly and throw in those little “examples” that are really just cut-downs, then they are doing so much more damage than they imagine. Here’s why, a kid can get over a disapproving peer, but they will always seek the approval of a parent. Your words hurt the most because you are the person who is supposed to protect them from the very thing you;re doing. You may have the best intentions, but kids will never understand that. All they know is that their own parent is cutting them down, and making invisible wounds. My mom often uses the saying, “You may have thrown a pebble, but it hit like a boulder“. That means that you may have meant something innocent, but to the other person, it hurt badly. That’s the problem with words. They have more power than anything on earth, and we’re free to use them however we want, whenever we want, and be ignorant to the danger of what our words can do. So use those words to build your kids up. Because physical wounds are easy to heal. You can see them, use some band-aids, and they’ll eventually heal. But you can’t see emotional wounds, and some can’t be healed, so be as careful with your words as you would with a loaded gun.

Now, I still mess up sometimes. I’m not perfect. Sometimes, words will escape my lips that are aimed at another person to hurt them. I always regret it. This happened just the other day with one of my friends at Church. He and I have been at odds for a few weeks and when he tried to talk at a table with me and two of my friends, I shooed him away. Both of us were at fault because of he provoked me, but that’s no excuse. As soon as he went away, I regretted everything that I’d said. I broke all of my own rules in a matter of seconds. I used my words to cut down another person, and did so in front of other people. I humiliated him, and also embarrassed myself. I had no excuse to do that, regardless of  how he treated me because that’s not how Jesus would’ve acted. I made myself look very bad, all because I lost my temper. That should never have happened.

Ephesians 4:29 says,“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

I cannot stress enough the importance of leading by example. To kids, when adult try to teach them by telling them what or what not to do, they end up just sounding like the grown-ups from the Charlie Brown cartoons. WAH WAHWAH WAHH WAHWAH WAH. That’s it. Kids learn by observing. My parents taught us VERY early on that the words we say to other people need to build them up, NOT tear them down. My mom used to sing this really obnoxious song that went, Encourage one another, and build each other up. Build each other up. Build each other up. Encourage one another, don’t tear each other down. Tear each other down. Tear each other down…  It was really annoying, but it made sense. But it wouldn’t have been enough if they had just told us to always say uplifting things, and punish us when we didn’t. In order for us to take it to heart, we had to see our parents live by it as well.

In my eighteen years of being alive, I can honestly say that I have never once my parents say harsh or cutting words to each other, or ANYONE else. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but they have. They have always stayed calm and carefully thought through their words. As a kid, and now, I knew that this concept was important because they lived by it EVERY DAY. If I grew up constantly hearing cut-downs, then that concept would be insignificant to me. Because if my parents didn’t care enough to follow their own advice, then it must not be important. But mom and dad showed us by the way they acted that I should follow their advice.

This brings me to my next point. VOCAL TONES.
Look back up at the top and reread that Bible verse. Think about it for a sec. Do you agree with it? When you get angry or upset, how do you react? There are seven types of vocal tones/inflections that people use when they’re angry:

  • The Whisper of Wrath
  • The Teapot of Terror
  • Hell’s Articulator
  • The Whisper Yeller of Fury
  • Satan’s Screamer
  • The Calm before Calamity
  • The Stopped-Up Ears Shout

The Whisper of Wrath– soft speech that is only audible to the guilty party. Commonly used in the presence of friends or church members. It’s used to strike fear into the accused without alerting others to the issue. Usually spoken directly into the ear, or inches away from the face, for minimal volume and maximum fear.

The Teapot of Terror– high-pitched, ear-splitting screaming usually reserved for individuals under the age of 3. Used solely to alert any and all that they are, in fact, unhappy. Screaming is usually accompanied with tears, flushed cheeks, and a runny nose, and are commonly followed by a much needed nap.

Hell’s Articulator– sharp, staccato used to say words with intense articulation. Commonly used by television bosses and unsatisfied customers. Used to belittle the accused by making each word clear and understandable, as if to imply that the accused is to stupid to understand normal speech. Also used to express the importance of what is being said by putting exaggerated emphasis on each consonant.

The Whisper-Yell of Fury– vocal inflection nearly identical to that of a full-on holler, but with a forced whisper. Commonly used by weirdos and petty, soon-to-be-killed-off television and movie antagonists. Similar to the whisper of wrath, it is used to express anger without making a scene. However, the whisper-yell of fury is used with much more indignation than the former.

Satan’s Serial Screamer– Loud, obnoxious, unnecessary volume used for maximum intimidation, but with minimal impact. Someone who no one pays any attention to. Shouting, or screaming, only has any shock value when I comes from a non-screamer. This reaction can be used approximately twice before it loses all influence. Serial screamers have short fuses, little self-control, stubborn or
difficult personalities, are easily offended, whiny, and are almost always ignored. A serial screamer is basically the human equivalent to a yippy chihuahua. Examples of serial screamers include, but are not limited to the following, Miss. Hannigan (Annie), Mrs. Olson (Little house on the Prairie), and Gilbert Huph (The Incredibles). Nobody likes them. Don’t be a serial screamer.

The Calm Before Calamity– no audible change in vocal tone, eerily calm and pleasant expression, no show of any anger or discontent, but with a palpable vibe of pure, concentrated rage. This commonly used to strike terror into the very soul of the guilty party. The obvious but undetectable wrath leaves the guilty to wait in the uncanny valley for the unsettling and ominous reaction to take a recognizable form. This reaction is usually reserved for the type of people who put hamsters in microwaves, or Hannibal Lecter.

The Stopped-Up Ears Shout– a reprimanding tone with a volume level that is too soft to be a shout, but too loud to be a normal speaking voice, occurring every so often. Almost always an unintentional result of stopped-up ears, causing the accuser to speak louder because they can’t hear how loud they are talking. Usually associated with those who suffer from seasonal allergies, as well as the older generation.

It doesn’t matter which category you relate to; Unless a life is in danger, or someone is too far away to hear a normal speaking voice, there is no reason to scream or speak harshly to another person, especially kids.
When I was a kid, when I would get into trouble, my parents would immediately send me to my room to “Think about what I did”. That confused me for so many years because I didn’t know why I needed to think about it. I knew all along it was bad, but I did it anyway. In reality, I would just wait in fear of the unavoidable spanking, and prepare by putting on fourteen pairs of underwear (which never worked). But now that I look back, I understand that they sent me straight to my room to “Think about it” so that they could calm themselves down. They allowed five or ten minutes to cool off before they came to my room. By then, the would talk to me about what I did and why it’s against the rules, tell me the whole “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” bull crap, and then give me my spanking. Then they would give me hugs, tell me how much they loved me, and it would be over. No harsh words, no yelling, no over-kill with the spankings. It hurt, yes, but I learned. I would’ve never learned if not for spankings. Time-outs or anything else would’ve been a joke to me.

But the important thing is to identify the fine line between acceptable and unacceptable spanking. It’s all about the timing. Timing is crucial when it comes to physical punishment, because it is all too easy to get carried away and be too harsh. The way my parents did this was by giving themselves time to cool down and think through the situation. This is so important for several reasons:

Reason One Control. It is almost impossible to be in total control of yourself when you’re angry. All rationality flies out the window and your only goal is to find a way to release the anger. Time will calm you down eventually, but all you care about is that instant relief. So if you decide to punish a child in the heat of moment, you’re probably spanking them about of anger as a release instead of spanking them out of love to discipline. In the end, you could hurt them much worse than intended, and for the wrong reason. Also, if you speak with a calm and gentle voice, it will keep them from becoming defensive. When they become defensive, nothing you say will get through to them, but when they’re at ease, your words will carry and have meaning.

Reason Two– Explanation. By waiting to cool down before a punishment, you’re able to think more clearly. Then you are able to talk about it and really teach them. You never know, maybe they don’t understand why what they did was wrong, or they have a legit explanation for why they did it. Then you can explain why it’s against the rules and listen to their side of the story. Growing up, there were several occasions where it was all just a misunderstanding and I actually wasn’t at fault. If my parents hadn’t taken the time to cool off and then talk it out, I would’ve been severely punished for no reason, which would break any child’s heart. As a parent, you want you kid to fear the spanking, not you.

Reason ThreeExample. You tell your kids not to hit other people, yes? You tell them to count to ten or hold their breath, or walk away in order to calm down, right? Of course you do. Now, if you tell them that and then you go and fly off the freaking handle the next time they do something wrong, that would send some mixed messages, wouldn’t it? You’re probably smart, so use that common sense to think about what every little thing you do will teach your kid. Kids watch and listen and learn by what is around them. You, as their parent, are the prime influence in their life, so use that to your advantage. So when you freak out and whip them while you’re angry, they will associate violence with anger. If you whip them while you’re calm and loving, they’ll associate violence with misbehaving.  Then it will be clear to them that the spanking is a result of their misbehavior, not a result of you being angry at them. So simple.

Don’t confuse a harsh vocal tone with a stern vocal tone. I’m not saying that you should only talk like Snow White when you discipline your kids. It’s perfectly fine to be stern with them cause it will help them see the severity of the situation. I’m just saying not to yell or scream- because that takes it from disciplining them to being mean to them.

So God really does know what he’s talking about. There is a reason why he puts that stuff in the Bible. I, myself, struggle with not acting out of anger. It’s tough, I get it. But it can be done.

James 1:19-20: says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 

Think about it.

Daddy Dates

Dad and I have always been close. Ever since my brothers and I were kids, dad has been taking us on “Daddy Dates”. As kids, our dates were organized it by having a specific day of the month for each of us. Mine was on the 9th, Connor’s was on the 28th, and Evan’s was on the 18th. Dad chose those dates because those are the days of our birthdays. Each date was different for each of us. I have no idea what my brothers liked to do during their nights; all I cared about was my night.

My daddy dates were usually about the same, and they would go something like this: Dad would take me to this shopping outlet called the Forum, down in Peachtree Corners, near where we lived. First, we would go to dinner; usually Jason’s Deli, where I usually got macaroni and cheese. Then we would walk down to a kids jewelry store called, “Clair’s” and he would buy me something I wanted. After Clair’s, we would walk down to Barnes & Noble where we would sit in the children’s section, on the little stage, and he would read me a book of my choosing. My favorite book was called A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. He probably read me that book twenty times. We would walk around the store for a bit, looking at all of the merchandise. I remember gawking over the leather journals and fountain pens. Dad bought me hot chocolate from the Starbucks in the store once or twice, but I didn’t like it and I thought Starbucks smelled weird. Now I realize that it was just the smell of coffee that I didn’t like. We would leave Barnes & Noble and walk further down the strip of stores. The Forum had these decorative walls along the sidewalk, and I would always climb up and walk along the wall, holding dad’s hand. When it was time to jump down, dad would catch me and spin me around. I always loved that. Then we would eventually make it to the Great American Cookie store, where dad would buy me a big slice of cookie cake, with extra frosting. Dad would take a “tax” on my treat by taking a bit bite out of it. We would walk into various stores and look around. Dad’s favorite place at the Forum was a suit store called “Joe Banks”. The man who owned the store knew dad, so they would chat while he looked around the store. I always liked looking at the colorful ties. I never cares what we were doing, as long as I got my quality time with dad. Looking back, most of my fondest memories of my childhood were the ones of my daddy dates. Dad and I would walk around the Forum until after dark. We always stopped by the fountain thing in the middle, and he would let me throw a quarter into the water. We basically just did whatever I wanted to do, and I always had the time of my life. I don’t remember going home from our dates. I remember the drive to the Forum and parking and everything else, but I don’t actually remember the date ever ending.

These dates have been going on ever since I can remember. I’m now eighteen years-old and dad and I still go on our dates. They’re different now, but they never stopped. Now my daddy dates usually consist of late night drives, going to CVS to get make up, or riding with dad to one of his hospital drop offs. They’re not nearly as elaborate as they were when I was a kid, but that doesn’t make them any less fun. It’s all just time with my dad. One of our daddy dates started off as a quick trip to get my moms grain and honey and stuff from The Bread Beckers, and ended up at Sticky Fingers in Chattanooga, TN. That was one of my favorites. We walked around Chattanooga, ate dinner, got a cupcake, and were home before midnight. Another one was a business trip to Virginia and Maryland. We took a detour to go see Liberty University. We got to stay at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. We went to one of the Smithsonian Museums, went to Walter Reed National Medical Center, saw the White House, and saw the first Red movie in the theater. It was so much fun. Most of my BIG daddy dates involved business trips. Dad has to work, obviously, but I get to tag along. I don’t care as long as I’m with dad.

Chattanooga Day Trip



Here is the breakdown for the purpose of these daddy dates, as well as the etiquette with which they should be handled. 

Firstly, why they started in the first place. There are many reasons why daddy dates are a brilliant parenting technique. 

Reason one: Bonding. Mom was a stay-at-home mom. She home-schooled my brothers and me, and took care of us while dad was at work. This worked out great. We got our education, as well as bonding time with mom. She did a fantastic job, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, this means we got A LOT more time with mom than we did with dad. He has always been very involved with us. When he got home from work, he would spend the rest of the night playing with us, and he always came into each of our rooms and prayed over us before he went to bed, regardless of rather or not we were awake. So we got plenty of time with him. But daddy dates allowed my brothers and me to have one-on-one quality time with dad, where we each got to enjoy his undivided attention. Now that I’m an adult, I look back and see how important those dates were. I see how my dad took his time with us and put his own wants and needs aside.
  A good example of this is what usually occurred when dad would take me to an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field, which was quite often. Dad LOVED to watch the game. Our seats were about five rows behind home plate, and from there we saw everything. If it were up to dad, we would sit there and just watch the game. But I was always hyperactive and wanted to get up and see everything else, except the game. So we would go get cotton candy, run the base up on top, walk through the mist, sit in the giant chairs, walk around, or really anything other than watch the game. And my dad always did it with a joyful heart. He never complained or tried to rush me. He let the whole night be about me. So looking back now, I recognize those little sacrifices that he made for us, and that means the world to me.

Reason Two: Showing us we’re worth it. Daddy dates were fun, yes, but they were also a vital part of teaching us about what it means to be a father. By taking us on daddy dates, dad was able to teach my brothers and me about what it means to not just be a father, but a dad. By taking time out of his busy life to pay attention to us, he showed us that a father WANTS to be around his children, and ENJOYS our company (even if that’s not always true). Dad showed us that having kids isn’t just something you do after you get married, it’s something that you put time, effort, money, and energy into. That’s a hard thing to learn from a mother because mothers are just wired to take care of kids. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Traditionally, men go out and work to provide for the family, and women stay home to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. It is a mother’s natural instinct to want to be with her children. There is nothing wrong with this fact, however, it means that it makes that much more of an impact when a child sees their father going above and beyond the call of duty for them. When a dad goes out of his way to spend time with his kids, it a bigger deal because he is doing something that isn’t necessarily expected of him. Therefore, to kids, that translates to “I don’t have to spend time with you, that’s not my job, but I love you, you’re worth my time and effort, and I WANT to be with you.” That isn’t sexism, it’s just the thought process of a child. I know because this is how I felt.

Reason Three: Setting an example for the future. This reason applies more to daughters than it does to sons. But that doesn’t make it any less important. My daddy dates were an invaluable aspect of my childhood for many reasons. But the most important reason is that by being the first man to take me out on dates, my dad set the standard for how a man should treat me. Let me break this down a bit. Growing up, my parents never TOLD me how I should expect to be treated by a boy/guy/man. Instead, my dad SHOWED me. My daddy dates were so much more than just quality time with dad. They were molding my view of how a man should treat me. This proved to make such a difference in my tween/teen years. Because I got all of the male attention that I needed, I never felt the need to have a boyfriend. I never had to fight for my dad’s attention, so I didn’t need a boyfriend to fill that need. Also, my standards for men were so high that none of the guys I knew fit those standards. I knew what to expect from a man because of how the man in my life treated me and how he treated mom. This has saved me from so much drama, so much hear break, so many distractions, and so many other things. I’ve been free to enjoy my youth without all of that mess.

Secondly, it has to do with your love language.

Love Languages: The five love languages is a topic that I’ll go into a lot more later on. But basically there are Five love languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Gifts
  • Quality Time
As you can probably guess, my love language is off the charts quality time. My parents have been teaching about the FLL ever since I can remember. Because of this, they are able to speak each of our languages. You can have more than just one, and you can be totally opposite from some of them. For example, My LL is Quality time, but I am SO not Physical touch. Dad’s LL is Physical Touch and Acts of Service, but not really quality time. Because of this, he has to put in more effort to speak my language, and I have to put in a lot of effort to remember his. My brothers LL’s are not quality time, so daddy dates were not as big of a deal for them. That’s why I got to do so many fun things with dad; because they really didn’t care to do them. Daddy Date gave dad a great way to speak my LL.
In concluding, never underestimate the importance of attention. Kids long to have their parents attention, other than when they get into trouble. My dad is an incredible father and I wouldn’t be the young lady I am today if he didn’t take that time to show me that he loved me. Saying that he loved me, giving me gifts, hugs, or doing nice things never made as big of an impact on me. But because he knew my Love language, he knew that every moment that he spent with me was how I heard, “I love you”.

Where to Start?…

Most parents have taken some sort of parenting class. You sit and listen to someone else tell you how to raise your kid, so that they don’t grow up to be serial killers, drug-dealers, politicians, etc. It’s all good! Parenting classes are great! But what about the kids of the teachers? Are they good kids? Do they hate their parents? Do they agree with their parent’s method of raising kids?

This is a parenting blog, written from the kid’s perspective. I’m not a professional, by any means. I don’t have kids, so I have no experience with raising them. However, my mom and dad have been teaching parenting classes ever since I can remember.  They have involved me in many of their classes, and I know first hand that they practice what they preach.
Connor(left), Evan(middle), and dad(right) on Thanksgiving.
But let’s start out with the basics. My name is Lacy Krista King, and I am currently seventeen years-old. I am currently in my twenty-fifth stage production, and I enjoy every moment of it. I play lots of instruments, I love sports, and I love playing X-Box games with my brothers. Also, I am probably the only one in the world who usually enjoys doing homework. Other, random facts about me will pop up every once in a while. I have the two, most incredible brothers in the world. My older brother, Connor, is currently nineteen years-old. He is attending Liberty University, and I really think that he may be part Vulcan. He is disgustingly intelligent. Connor is precious. He has always looked out for my little brother and me, and he IS Olaf from the Disney movie “Frozen”. Seriously. My baby brother, Evan, is currently fifteen years-old, and he IS Flynn Rider from the Disney movie “Tangled”. Evan is awesome. He is also very smart, and he is the most respectable, charming, mature fifteen year-old in the world. Both of my brothers are very good-looking, and they are growing up to be true men of Christ.
Gaither Fest Weekend in Myrtle Beach: Krispy Kreme 2013
My dad, Ted King, is the best dad ever. He is the spiritual leader of our family, and his unfaltering faith in God is invaluable to our family. He treats my mom with love, respect, patience, kindness, and they both are constantly trying to out-serve each other. My mom, Kris King, is my best friend. She is the funniest person I have ever met, and she doesn’t even try. I am the carbon-copy of my mother…
Sixteen? Eh, I’m not too old for mom to hold me. 2012
Now, let me make a few things clear. We are not the mushy-gushy family from the Robin Williams movie “RV”. No. We have are moments, yes, but we are not THAT family. Yes, we did home-school. Connor, Evan, and I all went to private schools for two years, and Connor spent all of high school in public school. Evan is in ninth-grade, and I am in eleventh-grade, and we both go to a HYBRID school. We attend the Artios Academy of John’s Creek, GA. It is pretty much a performing arts school. We go two days a week, and then we have a load of assigned work to do at home. It is really great. We are not the typical, awkward home-schoolers. We have our moments, but, for the most part, we’re pretty normal.
My parents have done a great job with keeping us socially active. We go to First Redeemer Baptist Church, and I absolutely love that church. On Sunday mornings, and Wednesday afternoons and nights, my mom and dad teach a parenting class for couples with young kids. I am basically writing this blog to second their teachings. They have not brain-washed us, or forced their opinions on us. I have always been allowed to have my own opinions, as long as I have valid arguments to back up my beliefs. This blog is composed of MY opinions. I am not trying to make the world see things my way, I am simply writing about my experiences with the concepts that my parents teach to other parents.
My family is by no means perfect. In fact, this blog will likely have many grammatical errors. But God has blessed my family, beyond belief.  My family is extremely close. My parents have proven to me that a man and wife can stay madly in love with each other for a lifetime. My brothers and I have proven that siblings can be best friends, as well as socially apt… most of the time… Don’t get me wrong, we argue. But I would do anything for my brothers, and they would do anything for me. Everything that my parents have taught me is based on what the Bible says. My parents have stayed true to what God says, because He knows what really works.
So have fun reading my blog. All it really is, is a bunch of reasons why my parents have been right all along.