My oldest is not dating.  Maybe not yet, maybe not ever.  I’m a cautious father since, I too, am a boy.  Recently she and I were talking about boys (she’s old enough for that for sure).  With typical zeal, I listed all the boys who, if they showed up at my door wanting to date my butterfly, I’d say, “Um, no.  Good bye.”  Next, I listed all the boys, who if they showed up asking the same thing, I’d say, “Um, no.  But you can come in and hang out here.”  Now, at this point of my parenting life, I’m all bluster and no experience.  My Pop, recently chuckled as we talked about this for understandable reasons, “Yes, son.” He said.  I’m sure I’ll be calling…However, as I prattle on with my daughter, she lovingly hears me out and seems to take some level of comfort from a protective (and experienced) father.

Still, more recently, we were talking about a couple of particular boys (I name names,you see).  These guys are goofs.  They are her middle-teen age and are lanky, pimple faced goof balls.  But, these two young men have courage.  They have had opportunity to take spiritual, moral and ethical positions that have impressed me.  So, as my daughter and I discussed these yokels, and she also recognized that they’re goofs, I helped her see that goofs grow up but it is very difficult to grow into courage.

This reminded me to continue to refine my list of “requirements” for the one who will successfully pry my daughter out of my hands.

Does he keep his word? Can she trust him to tell the truth even in front of his friends?

Is he courageous? Will he stand against everyone (her included) to do what is right and best for all?  Will he stand up to me if I intrude into their lives when I shouldn’t?

Is he humble? Will he accept rebuke when he needs it?  Will he demand to be served?

Is he kind even in front of his friends?

Does he repent of his sins? It isn’t too hard to find a young man who’d acknowledge that he sins.  But will Ace repent of his wrong-doing even to my daughter?  To me?  To my wife?

Is he thoughtful? Does he see his life in terms of others or others in terms of him?  Will he treat her like a ‘weaker vessel’ rather than a tool?

Is he a hard worker? Will he take the mandate of God seriously that he must work?  Can she depend on him to be active in all seasons to do what he must for her?  Will he refuse to live in my basement?

Is he respectful and kind to his mother? I do a lot of premarital counseling and I always ask questions like this.  The boy will treat my daughter like he treats his mom.

And so, it continues: for her, the wait.  For me, the prayer and vigilance.