Dear Union Community,
I am sharing with you a letter which I wrote to my son earlier this year.
The letter is deeply personal and sharing it is not something that I do lightly. I have been writing to him regularly over the past few years, as I do for my daughter, and giving him advice for his life.
I do this because a letter is something personal and tangible and I hope that he will keep the letters that I write him, as, while they may not be very valuable to him now, one day he will treasure them. This will be especially true in a time after I am no longer alive when he will long for my counsel and advice. I have encouraged him to keep them in a file in a safe place. One day they will be important to him.
This particular letter is about dating and how to treat a girl or woman. I share it now in light of the terrible events that have recently taken place in this country that have caused us all to look at ourselves and our national culture of violence, and the way in which we treat women. I hope that in sharing this letter, I will encourage you to speak to your own children about how they conduct themselves, and particularly our boys and young men.
Talk to your children, guide them, spend time with them. It is the most important investment that you will make in your life.
William Pringle – Headmaster, Union High School
An expert used to give teenage girls this piece of dating advice: guys aren’t ready to date until they’re twenty-five years old.
I thought it was a bit extreme and harsh towards the boys. However, it certainly made those girls think before they were swept off their feet by a teenage boy only to be hurt deeply later. It also made me think about what I want my son to know about dating.
Dating is a good way to develop maturity and understanding of the sacrifice needed for a long-lasting relationship. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to treat another person and think selflessly.
Here are 10 pieces of dating advice for you.
- Date for the right reasons.
Don’t do it to be cool or because other people are. Don’t be pressured into dating because of expectations. A lot of guys don’t date much or at all in high school, and that’s fine. Often, guys who begin dating at a later age have healthier relationships with girls because they have developed more maturity and self-assurance than they had at a younger age.
- Show good manners.
Have courtesy for others. Holding the door for her and walking her to her car at the end of the night are thoughtful and communicate respect, which naturally leads into the next point.
- Speak respectfully of all girls.
If you develop a reputation for treating poorly or saying inappropriate things about even one girl, I can assure you many girls will hear about it. This most likely will hurt your chances of other girls wanting to be your friend or date you. Your reputation will always precede you. Protect it.
- Keep things in perspective.
Before entering a relationship, take the time to write out or think about the characteristics you’d like your wife to have. Look beyond right now; consider yourself in 10 or 15 years. What do you see your life looking like then? What will be your priorities then? This will really help you when pursuing relationships. It’s good to have friend relationships with girls outside of a dating relationship. That’s more time for you to learn about girls and what your preferences are without being in a relationship.
- Take the initiative in the relationship.
Women want men to show initiative. Call them to talk or ask them out (Ask them out well in advance of the date night). Take responsibility for what to do and come up with ideas based on what you think she would like. Suggest a plan but be flexible if she has some different ideas.
- Take the lead.
Talking about the relationship, establishing boundaries, and determining the intensity and pace of the relationship are your responsibilities. Don’t neglect to do it, even if the girl is being more assertive in driving the relationship.
- Plan creative dates.
Girls like it when they know you spent time thinking about them, and a creative date shows a lot of care. Girls especially like it when there are good opportunities for casual conversations on a date.
- Go slowly with your relationship.
Good relationships are marathons, not sprints, and many relationships start out too quickly and intensely to last. You can’t run a marathon at full speed. In the early stages of the relationship, resist the urge to talk every single day, to see each other at every opportunity, and to kiss and say “I love you” too soon. Your relationships will be much more likely to thrive and survive.
- Remember your other friends.
When you’re in a relationship, it is easy to get tied up with the other person. All other relationships begin to lessen, and the one with your girlfriend becomes your priority. However, if you and your girlfriend break up, who will be there to support you? Besides, it’s good to hang out with your friends and grow in relation with them too. After you’ve planned a date with your girlfriend, be sure to make time for your friends. Or go out as a group frequently.
- Respect her future.
Remember that you are with someone’s future wife. You do not want to do anything that would damage her future relationships. You would not want a guy doing something inappropriate with your sister. Keep that in mind as you are dating and make sure the relationship does not turn sexual. You don’t want that baggage for either of you.