I was sitting by a boy at my daughter's soccer game last night. He isn't just any boy, he is a boy that is interested in my daughter, you know, the one out there on the soccer field kicking a ball around. So that changes things a little bit.
He was dropped off by his sister to the game and came early enough that Heidi hadn't met me there yet...so it was just me. I saw him walking in front of the stands looking around and I wondered if he had the 'brass' to come sit next to me. I turned away to make like I didn't notice he was even there, but out of my peripheral, I could see him making his way up the step to the row I was sitting in.
I turned to greet him and he said, "Hi, Mr. Holdridge."
Nobody calles me Mr. Holdridge, and when I say nobody I mean no body. My dad is the only Mr. Holdridge I know. I'm Jason. But this boy's parents taught him the same thing my parents taught me: "You don't address adults by their first name even when they say you can." Aly has told him before to just call me Jason, but he can't bring himself to do it. I don't mind none. Part of me feels the professional distance that I desire in this budding relationship demands this sort of posture. I don't want to be friends with this boy just yet. I want to be friendly, but not friends.
They aren't dating formally, but they do like each other. I was born, but it wasn't yesterday, so I get what's going on. I remember the semantics. If our parents won't let us "go out" then we will just be "good friends". ;) She has been to one of his lacrosse games and now he's coming to one of her soccer games. He doesn't know a lick about soccer...that was clear after hearing a couple of his questions about what was going on out on the pitch. He wasn't there for soccer. He was there to see my daughter.
He's a nice boy. A quiet boy, but nice. Measured in his words, so measured he doesn't speak many. I am the one who asks the questions and he merely answers my inquiries with short answers. Let's just say the conversation doesn't flow. I'm ok with that. Like I said, I'm not looking for a buddy-buddy relationship with this guy. He is, of coarse, interested in one of 'my girls". I'm a little possessive, so I've got to protect my pride of lionesses. I understand there will be a day when another man will come along and take one of my daughters away from me, but it's not going to be without a fight. And when I say fight, I'm not talking about the "I-have-a-shotgun-under-my-bed" macho nonsense. I'm talking about the fight for my daughter's heart. I want to make sure that boy with fight to protect and pursue my daughters heart as I have for all these years. I want to make sure he will fight for his own purity and honor to be deserving of what has been preserved in her all these years. We have done our best to shield her and to guard her innocence, will he fight to do the same? Will this young man fight for believed creeds instead of felt needs? Will he love Jesus more than her? I could go on, but this is the fight I have to see in any boy that wants the hand and heart of my daughter.
I realize she's a Sophomore. I'm not expecting her or any boy who has the hots for her to have knowledge of things that only come with more age, but that is part of why I don't just release my daughters to their pursuers. Until they understand the power of what they are messing with, they shouldn't be playing around with it. I don't mind crushes...they are old enough to experience the superficial laws of attraction at a base level, but this is far different than understanding the deeper laws of love. Love that transcends fluttery feelings and chooses hard things over expedience or convenience. Love that has beliefs and boundaries that's aren't for sale, the non-negotiables. Love that bows to truth instead of feelings. Which begs the question, when does a young boy or girl understand and respect the preeminence of Truth? There isn't a chronological age where one simply crosses over, but you can sense and see when a soul is bound to something deeper than feelings. Something more than skin deep--something bone deep.
I could say more...but sitting next to this boy at my daughter's soccer game I found my mind contemplating all the layers of love. I think it's ok and natural to "like" someone at that age. I did. I think it's ok to meet in the halls and text on the phone and attend each other's games. It's natural...it's human nature.
But as a dad, I'm looking for a young man who has a growing love for the Heavenly Father of my daughter. Not me. Her Maker. Her First Love. The One who dances over her with singing. The One who formed her in her mother's womb and fearfully and wonderfully fashioned her for a perfect purpose.
She will meet many boys that find her attractive; I'm looking for the young man who finds God exceedingly more attractive. I pray for him today--whoever he is--that he will guard his heart and follow God's.
This is what goes on in my mind while I sit on the bleachers next to a kid who likes my girl.