Allow me to take you way, way back in time….all the way to 2007! (Hey, five years is a lot when you’re still in high school.)
I had moved from Connecticut to Texas the year before, and was finally getting around to reconnecting with all my friends from back East. I didn’t have Facebook, so I was forced to use these strange devices called telephones. One day, I had a very interesting conversation with one of my best friends I’d known from Connecticut. I was talking to him about all the stuff that had happened since I left, and eventually, even though we were both only 13, he got on the subject of girls.
He asked me, “So dude, do you have a girlfriend yet?”
I was stunned. As I’m sure you can understand, my innocent little Catholic boy side was deeply offended.
“Are you kidding? I’m only 13! How could I be in a relationship already?”
At the time of that conversation, he was on his 12th girlfriend.
This is an isolated incident (I hope), but it says a lot about our society’s attitudes towards a very tricky social issue. It’s nothing new, but the more people my age that I meet, the more and more I start to understand a very sad truth: Among teenagers, dating is a game. At some point in time, a societal norm came into existence, a norm which has infested my fellow young people with a dangerous lie, a lie that states that we kids somehow should be allowed to engage in that which is none of our concern.
As a Catholic, I understand marriage is a sacrament and should be taken seriously. Dating and relationships are a means of searching for a spouse, and I therefore take them very seriously as well. What I am dying to know is why so many of my friends do not. I’m a guy, and yes, we enjoy spending time with girls, but that doesn’t mean we all need to engage in these so-called “relationships.” As a society we have let the reality of dating and its fruitful implications die, and in doing so we have completely disregarded the spiritual danger for teens brought about by frivolous dating.
Now I understand, not all these relationships are absolutely terrible. I’ve met people who are happily married that met their future husbands and wives in high school, which is great for them! However, the vast majority of people my age I know are constantly in and out of these relationships. They let them dominate their lives, distract them from their studies, and sometimes they even get dragged into depression. And for what?
I’ve asked my friends why they do it, I’ve asked them why they think it’s worth it. A couple years ago a friend of mine, who was 15 at the time, said he was in a relationship because he was sure he wanted to marry the girl he was with, yet six months later they broke up and he was happy as could be. Another friend I asked, a girl the same age, said she was only in relationships because they were a good excuse to make out with boys.
Why have we let this happen? How is it so many millions of people have completely misunderstood the concept of dating? I mean, it’s very simple. If you don’t plan on getting married anytime soon (especially if you’re 13 years old), then what are you doing? I mean, it IS possible to have a good time with members of the opposite gender without them being your “bf” or “gf”. Trust me, I know. Somehow, we need to find a way to help my fellow high schoolers understand that there is more to life than dating. We have to help them understand that their value and worth as a person is not going to be measured by how many people they’ve been with. God doesn’t care if you have a girlfriend or not, and if my generation learns to understand that, then maybe dating and marriage will be what they are truly supposed to be.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/blog-picture.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jack Kuplack is a Catholic home schooler and one of ten kids. He’s been a member of the Civil Air Patrol (The Civilian Auxilliary of the United States Air Force) for over five years, and is currently the Cadet Commander of the Randolph Composite Squadron near San Antonio. He’s been preparing to join the military for years, and intends to after high school. In his free time he either blogs over at Who Needs Green, plays guitar, studies physics, or kindly plots ways to subdue his hyper siblings.[/author_info] [/author]