“Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong – that is your oath.”
-The Knight’s Oath (Kingdom of Heaven)
My oldest son, Gabriel recently turned 13. My baby boy, who was just a cherub-cheeked newborn yesterday, somehow just became a teenager. This has caused a bit of an internal conflict for me. The mom in me still sees him as my little baby. Yet, I’m also trying to force myself to recognize that he is now a young man and needs to be treated as such. So, with that in mind, several months ago we ordered the “Passport to Purity” weekend kit from Family Life Today. It’s a set of materials that aims to lay the foundation for approaching relationships and sexuality in a healthy, holy way. As I was writing a letter to my son (part of the program), it dawned on me that this time of adolecence is like a gradual birth into adulthood. Newborns discover their surroundings with curiosity, as their cognitive awareness awakens to the world around them. It goes without saying that it is a time of intense engagement for the parents as they care for, teach and guide their baby. I realize that in the teen years, it is also true that brand new experiences, physical and emotional changes will also require heightened diligence on the part of Jim and me. That was probably a totally obvious observation to everyone but me (ha ha), but I just never thought about it that way before. Of course, Gabe SEEMS totally self-self-sufficiant and I’m proud of the young man he has become. I don’t want to compare him to a baby by any means, but I think (for me) it’s important so that I don’t take his maturity as meaning that Jim and I can go on auto pilot as we enter this incredibly important chapter.
Our goal is to raise virtuous children who embody the words of the Knight’s Oath (above). To be strong, yet gentle. To seek justice and love mercy. To be bold, yet humble. We hope that Passport to Purity will be on the of stones in building the foundation of manhood.
Here’s how it works.
I ordered the kit in the mail several months ago. It looks like this:
The first thing we did was to read the manual. I was slightly surprised by the amount of materials and preparation required, but of course…this is designed to an “experience” not just a fly-by obligatory conversation.
We gathered the materials, selected a date, and continued to have private conversations about some of the potential questions and answers that could be discussed.
It’s designed to be a getaway over a weekend timetable. Since that wasn’t possible with our schedule right now, we modified it to make it work for us.
Jim took Gabriel hiking, rock climbing, then dinner, and spaced out the topics accordingly.
“How should you respect a woman? Be her friend, treasure her, respect her, protect her, love her like a sister. The human heart is a battlefield between love and lust. Virtue comes from spiritual strength. Chastity is the spiritual power which frees love from selfishness and aggression. Chastity cannot exist without capacity renounce self, to make sacrifices and to wait. The man who chooses virginity chooses God. If I am to be complete just to God the Creator, I must offer him all that is in me, my whole being, for he has first claim on all of it.”
“Freedom of the will is possible only if it rests on truth in cognition. This is where the concept of duty comes in. For it is a man’s duty to choose the true good. It is, indeed, duty that most fully displays the freedom of the human will. The will ‘ought to’ follow the true good. (p. 119)”
Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II) -Love and Responsibility
Jim reported back that they had a great evening. I think we both expected it would be more awkward than what it ended up being. He said they had great conversations, good laughs and an overall memorable time. He did say that they didn’t get through all of the material, so a weekend retreat seems to be the best bet.
I know I am not qualified to give tips on raising a Godly teenager since I haven’t actually accomplished that objective yet. 🙂 However, I always believe charting the course and following a proven “map” (aka the Bible and our faith) is the best place to start. And, it’s such a blessing to have wonderful tools along the way, like P2P. And of course, prayer. First, last, always..prayer! Love you, my teenage son.