Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stepping into Tween Years

I just got back from a very special mother daughter weekend trip with our oldest. She will be entering fifth grade this fall and going to public school... and so it's time for "the talk". Actually, since this daughter is scientifically minded and I'm comfortable talking about biology, we actually already had the nuts and bolts of "the talk" a few months back. It kinda came up while we were driving home one night from her basketball practice. One thing led to another and I just decided to lay it all out... 23 chromosomes + 23 chromosomes = 46 chromosomes and etc!

However, I remember being recommended to go through this series called Passport2Purity. I liked the idea of going away one on one to go through this project and having a structure to talk about issues that may be coming up in her life soon.

The idea is we would listen to these audio cd's together and pause to discuss the topics. I did some prep work before hand to gather materials needed for the projects at the end of each session (there were 5 sessions total).

Since dad wasn't going on the trip, he wrote in the travel journal that we presented to our daughter so that she could read it before we started listening to the sessions. It was a chance for him to speak from his heart and offer words of encouragement as she begins this journey into adolescence and adulthood. I wrote in it as well but after the trip to sandwich her experience. Hoping she will refer to this journal often as she continues to grow as I threw in there many of my favorite "go to" verses. Here are a few:
 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

The audio cd's were actually pretty interesting and fun to listen to. We listen to a lot of books on tape so this had some similarity. Parts of the audio had kids play out storylines and other parts the authors would bring up the points and ask questions. We paused many times in each session to review, answer questions, as well as hash out anything that needed to be hashed out. Each session took a little over an hour to listen to. The project itself took about 5-10 minutes and was pretty fun to do. Here's a picture of project #1:

She had to put together the harder puzzle without the box showing the final picture, while racing me tackling the easier puzzle with a box to refer to. This illustrates how hard it can be to maneuver life without a "map" to lead us. The Bible is the map, Jesus is the compass, and parents are the guides!

Topics covered includes peer pressure, sex, and dating. It is a LOT of material and all of it may or may not be appropriate or relevant at the given moment.

I did choose to complete the entire series.  We did sessions 1, 2, and 3 driving up and then 4 and 5 on the drive back. However, I did tell my daughter that we would re-visit some of the topics later when it becomes more relevant. I thought it was ok to at least go through it all so that she is aware of what is to come... but I do not expect her to fully understand or apply all of it right now.

Now for our weekend getaway... I had signed up months ago for this Masters Field Hockey Tournament (players over 35 years old) that was going to take place in Boston. I thought it'd be perfect because Boston is where my husband and I met... AND my daughter had just started playing field hockey so I thought it'd be fun for her to come up with  me and watch me play. Great idea until it dawned on me super late that it has been like 20 years since I've really played... and... I'm sorely out of shape.  Plus, I'm unfamiliar with all the new rules... and... have an obsolete stick!! LOL. Well... a lot achey and sore and humbling what this body can and cannot do anymore... BUT I had a ton of fun!

At the very end of the trip, we involved dad again. He met us as we were coming into the house to welcome her home with a hug and present her with a small gift to remember the weekend by.  We got her a little cross necklace to wear.

We also plan to finish the 500 piece puzzle together as a family and then frame it as another token to remember the weekend by. Since we are planning on going through this with each of our 4 kids, I went ahead and ordered the replacement travel journals in case they come up with later editions and the travel journals no longer match up.

So overall I'm glad we had our weekend away and I enjoyed the structure that the cd's provided. The topics were relevant and the material presented in a non-threatening... not too embarrassing way. Ultimately, it is still up to the parent how they want to use the material... what to listen to... what to skip.. but the key is to have these conversations with the child and to keep an open dialogue. I don't see this as a once and done deal... but as a springboard for ongoing discussions as things come up. It provides a solid biblical base.. and the key is biblical... so obviously this series would only work for you if you believe that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God.