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Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Son
What do you do when your son is inundated with phone calls from girls? You nail an edict to your front door—to help them increase their chances.

I've been thinking a lot about teenagers now that we have three of our own standing around the house eyeing our car keys. If I sound frightened, it's partly because I am. But in all honesty, we love these days. Sure we have to replace the fridge light bulb more frequently and I haven't controlled the remote for months, but teenagers teach us much about life if we will watch and listen. Lately I've noticed that they're too old to do things kids do and too young to act like adults. So they do things no one else would dare.

"Is this Edna?" we ask. "Or Diane or Sarah? There are so many, I get you mixed up."

Part of our success as parents depends on our ability to remember being a child ourselves, and I recall well the teenage years. I remember the day in tenth grade when a blonde named Ramona moved in next door and I made it my life verse to love my neighbour as myself. I remember how my Science, Math and Geography grades began to plummet in the wake of her presence, and how I pursued her across the vast ocean of courtship by phone, by foot, and in my father's car.

Back in those primitive years (before the invention of helpful objects like cell phones that work underwater), boys chased girls. We did this fluently. We planned for it, we paid for it, and we preened for it. But something happened a few short years ago: The roles reversed. Girls began chasing boys. Aggressively. Like hungry lionesses preying on limping antelope. They started yelling out car windows at them and calling them on telephones. Fathers began greeting these calls with the same enthusiasm we reserve for telemarketers. "You'd like to speak with my son?" we say. "I am sorry, he is on a mission trip to Zimbabwe where he is marrying a local girl." The caller does not laugh at all. In fact, she calls back later: "Is this Edna?" we ask. "Or Diane or Sarah? There are so many, I get you mixed up."

Since my sons are both receiving calls from lovely girls who I am sure will make fine wives for someone in 20 or 30 years, I have decided to issue this short edict to help them increase their chances of that someone being one of my children. Though shorter than Martin Luther's 95 Theses, I believe this is worth nailing to the front door. I will be doing this myself later today. With an electric staple gun.

The following locations and activities are acceptable for your date …

Rule One: If you would like to talk with my son, please do this in the church foyer during the fellowship hour when the lights are on high. Remember to bring your Bible. If you call my house to talk with my son, your call could be monitored by our Customer Service Department.

Rule Two: My son is 16. The following locations and activities are acceptable for your date: Um … I can't think of any right now.

Rule Three: Please remember that earrings are intended for your ears only.

Rule Four: If you would like to hang out with my son, you will have to put up with me. I am out on a weekend pass and I am unsure of what I will do or say next. Though we are a loving and kind family, we also have a history of Paranoia. Schizophrenia also runs deeply through our genes, though my grandfather adamantly denied this before they locked him up.

Rule Five: My son cannot use my minivan to drive you to a mall. The van is already booked that year.

Rule Six: Please do not touch my son. Do not lean against him unless you are falling over and are in danger of injuring yourself or plunging off a cliff. Do not even pull lint from his ear. I have been trying to do this for years and he will not let me. He can do this himself.

Rule Seven: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for girls your age to wear Britney Spears t-shirts that do not reach their low-slung pants or necklines that sink lower than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. My wife and I have discussed this and since we want to be fair and open-minded about it, you are free to show up in such attire. My wife will affix it properly to your body with a glue gun.

Rule Eight: More important than any of these, remember that we've been praying for this child since before God gave him breath, and we will continue to do so. If you're The One, we've been praying for you too. When and if he chooses a godly girl, we will be happier than Mr. and Mrs. Turtle when they finally exited the Ark, but until then we'll keep praying that both of you will pursue Jesus first, and watch everything else fall into place.

P.S: if you are a teenage girl who has read this and still has a smile on your face, go ahead and call. Our number is 1-800-321. If you somehow got through, just remember that your call may be monitored by our Customer Service Department.

Phil Callaway, editor of Servant magazine, is a popular speaker and author of a dozen books including Who Put the World on Fast Forward and I Used To Have Answers, Now I Have Kids (Harvest House). His web site is: For details about Phil's first novel Growing Up On the Edge of the World click here:

Originally published in Servant Magazine, Spring 2003.




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