A couple of weekends ago I took my oldest son away, so that he and I could complete the Passport 2 Purity curriculum. Almost two years ago, Kathy purchased the CDs and workbooks, but they gathered dust on a shelf in our mud room, waiting on my convenience.
I wish I hadnâ€™t waited so long. At 14, my son is mature and knowledgeable, but the Passport 2 Purity materials were designed for a younger, less mature audience. Even worse, in the past year Joshua has really begun to exercise a greater level of sovereignty in his life, and is becoming more and more reluctant to talk about certain subjects. I understand it is a natural (and possibly unavoidable) process, but it still makes me sad to see it happen, and it made for some awkward silences during the time that we had.
Still, we did have some good discussions.
We had a great weekend. As recommended by authors Dennis and Barbara Rainey, we organized the time around a recreational event, which I wrote about in an earlier post, Travels with Faramir. We completed all five of the sessions, with time to spare for questions and general discussion.
… and Faramir didn’t even push me in the lake!
The choice of theme verse seemed a bit unrelated to the study. On reflection, though, it provides a common thread that permeates the discussion in a very satisfying way. Christ should be the head of every aspect of your life – relationships, purity, studies, and so on.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Iâ€™m not going to say a lot about the content of the Passport 2 Purity sessions, since there is some element of surprise to it, and I donâ€™t want to ruin the event for any of my younger readers and their parents. Suffice it to say, that the material is an excellent way for a parent to begin to discuss the topics of sexuality, purity and dating relationships with a child on the brink of their transition to adulthood.
Naturally, we had technical difficulties, and had to scramble for a backup CD player.
One of the things I really liked about the weekend course is that it covers the basics without being too heavy-handed. The tone is light and informative, and Rainey repeatedly circles back around to emphasizing the importance of the child-parent relationship.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the material was the fourth session, in which the Raineys talk about purity. He quickly gets your attention: â€œIâ€™m not going to tell you that the standard for Christians before marriage, is virginity.â€ Instead, he teaches that the Biblical notion of purity extends well beyond that â€˜line in the sandâ€™ which so many well-intentioned folks have drawn. Using the metaphor of a cliff-edge, Rainey walks both parent and child through an exercise of arranging various levels of physical contact in order, from â€˜least dangerousâ€™ to â€˜most dangerousâ€™. He talks about the tendency to progress through levels of physical intimacy, as a relationship extends in duration. â€œWhere will you draw the line?â€ he challenges. â€œHow much of your purity will you give away before your wedding day?â€
These are sobering questions. Many parents of my generation are in the unenviable position of having to tell their children: â€œDonâ€™t do what I did.â€
Were we ever that young?
Parents today cannot assume that their children will remain pure by default. Our culture bombards children with sexual innuendo and explicit images, through TV, movies, magazines and the internet. As one of my friends recently joked, a parent dare not assume that his children are innocents in this area:
Dad: Well, son, now that youâ€™re a freshman in high school; itâ€™s time that we had a talk about sex.
Son: Sure, Dad. What do you want to know?
Rainey works hard to bring the listener (both adult and child) to the understanding that a decision about purity must be made in advance, in order to hold to any kind of a moral standard. He warns that if you wait to decide what you will do when you are already in a relationship, you are practically guaranteeing that you will bow the knee to temptation.
I wish my parents had walked me through a curriculum of this nature, while I was still in their home. Although Kathy and I stood at the altar as virgins on our wedding day, there are lines of intimacy that we crossed, before we were married, which I regret.
Ultimately, an unmarried young man may find it helpful to think of himself as guarding his own purity and that of anyone he dates, in trust for their future spouses. I think this is a teaching that would have resonated with me, as a man who highly values honor and integrity. I think young Christian men are entirely capable of restraining their lusts, especially if they see themselves as honor-bound to guard and preserve the purity of the young lady they accompany. For some reason, this concept never took root in my mind, though it seems blindingly obvious, in hindsight.
The course included lots of interesting secret projects
Parents with eleven- or twelve-year-old children should rush out and purchase the Passport 2 Purity package, and start making plans to get away with your son our daughter for a weekend as soon as you are able. I strongly recommend this curriculum to your immediate attention. Kathy and Rachel are already scheming about their weekend away together.
4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip for Parenting — Passport 2 Purity”
Thanks for the great post and review, Tim. I too bought this two years ago and have yet to use it. My dd’s 13. I see that I really need to get moving with this. I’ll need to look through it again and see if I can swing it without going away for a night.
Your children are blessed in that they can look to you and Kathy as good examples of purity before marriage.
And I have to add (because I never saw it on SHS), did anyone see that survey published earlier this month showing that 1 in 4 teen-aged girls have an STD? So shocking. So scary. So incredibly sad.
Wow. Very interesting. Thanks, Tim, for sharing so respectfully and yet openly. You’re a great dad, and Joshua is a wonderful young man.
I remember when you were married!!
Love you guys, Aunt Kate
Great review…I will be getting this this summer and going thru it with my oldest…she’s 10 but will be 11 in November…
You know we bought this YEARS ago used – and I don’t think we got the whole program now that I hear you description…..anyway we never used it – and now we have a 23, 21, 19, 17 and 14 yo’s……I think I’ll look into it for Mike and our 14 yo and then use it beyond that….I don’t know. I mean God was faithful to give us opportunities to instill the ideas of emotional and physcial purity and the children have walked in that without the program – but the program looks FUN! LOL I just remember a book and being told to go away for a weekend……not cd’s, projects et al. Did Kathy prepare all the projects for you? ::snort:: You know how I am – always wondering about the small details. LOL
Hmmm….things to think about….I’m also ordering the homeschool Dave Ramsey material…..hmm….
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