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You think it's time to "have the talk", but you aren't sure and you don't know what to say. That's how I felt when my first daughter was approaching puberty. I had already written Lady Day, but I began to search for something to help me know what to say and when to say it. I found Passport 2Purity and used that with both of our first two daughters. But when I began to plan for the third daughter, God gave me the book The Gift of Purity to share with her.
How do you know when it's time to have "the talk?" Each child and each family is different. Some children ask lots of direct questions; some ask none at all. Some families are comfortable with lots of information; some give very little information. The Gift of Purity was written for 11-13 year-old girls. I feel that if my daughter can conceive a child, she should know how that happens. We planned our time according to our daughter's physical and emotional development. We wanted to make sure that she would understand the information presented and treasure the purity ring and what it represented.
I am a big fan of making detailed plans in advance, however I am flexible enough to throw the plans out the window if something changes, if something better comes up, or if God leads me otherwise. A plan is a tool to help you make decisions in advance, allowing you to have a more enjoyable time. Harold and I talked together and chose a few weekends within a 6-week period that would suit our family schedule. Ultimately, we made our final choice based on the lowest hotel rate. The book includes a detailed check list of how to prepare for the event.
Making a Budget
You don't have to spend a lot of money, but you want to communicate how special this time is. Depending on location, you should be able to find a nice hotel with a free breakfast for around $75.00 per night, less on the off season. I found a five star hotel on off season for about $65.00 a night, off season and without breakfast. If your budget won't allow that much, maybe you know someone who would let you stay in their cabin in the mountains or their house at the beach. I even know of one nursing mom who chose to have their "weekend" in one marathon day because she couldn't leave the baby overnight. The book includes sample schedules for these scenarios.
As far as meals, you'll be eating dinner the first day and three meals on the second day. Since we ate a big breakfast on our second day, we saved some money by eating snacks for lunch. We splurged on a nice dinner. With our third daughter, our hotel didn't include breakfast so we went to a grocery store and bought bananas, milk and donuts-much cheaper than a breakfast at a restaurant.
Finally, you'll have expenses for gas, expense for a ring or other token, and entertainment expenses for your free time. Our entertainment expenses varied-one got their ears pierced, one got her first haircut at a salon, and another bought some needed clothing. One mom I know took her daughter horseback riding. Don't feel guilty if your budget is tight. The weekend is not about spending money; it's about the time you invest in building a stronger relationship with your daughter.
Choosing a Destination
When choosing a destination, you need to take several things into account: your daughter's interests, the time of year, your geographic location, and your budget. What would your daughter like to do during your free time? Will it be swimming weather or skiing weather? How far are you willing to drive? How much are you willing to spend? Since Dad was joining us for a special dinner, we didn't want to drive too far from home. In the end, the destination for the first two daughters was about one hour away. The third daughter requested a local hotel more than a year in advance of her special weekend and was surprised and thrilled when we pulled into the parking lot.
Choosing a Hotel
Most girls like nice things and atmosphere is very important. For all three girls, we chose a nice hotel during the off-season which gave us lovely accommodations for about half of the price. Many hotels include a free breakfast or have a hotel restaurant. Having breakfast at the hotel is not necessary, but is very convenient. I like using hotels.com because they have a calendar option for each hotel that shows when you can get the lowest rates.
Also, we spent two nights. We didn't want to pack up and check out in the morning and we wanted to be dressed nicely for dinner and needed a room to get ready. The second night certainly isn't necessary.
Sending an invitation
Make an invitation and send it to your daughter through the mail. What girl doesn't like to get mail? I named the time "Purity Weekend" and I listed the date, departure time, and an RSVP name and phone number, but the destination was a secret. You can call it anything you want: Girls' Weekend Getaway, A Celebration, A Special Time Together. I'm sure God will show you just what to call it.
Shopping for a Purity Ring
For the first two, we found a ring at a local jeweler which was within our budget and looked grown up enough for a young adult to wear. (Our local jeweler has a 50% off sale each year in January, so we planned ahead!) For the third daughter, we found a great deal during a holiday sale at a national jewelry chain and saved the ring until her "Purity Weekend."
Preparing the "Purity Points"
As I prepared the "Purity Points," I bought solid colored gift bags from a discount retailer, each bag a different color based on the color of the gift at the top of the pages in the chapter. All supplies for that "Purity Point" were placed in the bag so that I was prepared when we came to that section. I transported all of the bags in a large department store shopping bag so my daughter didn't see them. I kept the bags to be used with the next daughter. The book includes a list of supplies you will need for each of the "Purity Points."
Planning Free Time
I tailored the afternoon activities to my daughter's interests and desires, and my budget! I wanted to find a "grown up" activity that reaffirmed her femininity. The oldest daughter wanted to get her ears pierced. We spent the day perusing bookstores and finally ended up at Claire's to get her ears pierced. For the second daughter, I scheduled an appointment to get her hair cut at a nice salon - her first visit to a salon. Later, she also got her ears pierced. The third daughter needed some clothing, so we went to the mall and bought a few new items-a big deal for a family that more often shops at thrift stores.
There are many things you could do together. Take some time to think about what interests your daughter. Some free or inexpensive ideas are touring a historic site, going to a museum, going horseback riding, painting a piece of pottery, walking on the beach, swimming, or hiking. (I discourage movies or other performances that don't allow you to communicate.)
Doing the Event
We left home and after we got on the road, I had our daughter read the introductory letter in the car. Then I told them where we were going. We stopped and ate dinner on the way to the hotel. The Letters from Mom and Dad can be read at the hotel while you're waiting for food, or you can save them for when you arrive at the hotel. The letters of blessing open their hearts and set the stage. After dinner, we drove to the hotel and checked in. We took a little time to get settled and then we sat on the bed together as I read aloud the Purity letter to her. (Your daughter could read the letter if she wants to, but it should be read aloud.) We did the "Purity Point" and I finished reading the letter. As we got ready for bed, I let her talk as much as she wanted to, about whatever she wanted to.
In the morning, before we even got out of bed, I read the Sexuality letter to her. We did the "Purity Point" and I finished reading the letter. I paused in some sections, asking her if she understood and if she had any questions. When we finished, we got dressed and had breakfast. After breakfast, I read the Courtship letter, did the "Purity Point", finished the letter and then signed the "Commitment to Courtship." I mentioned to her that Dad could sign it when we got home. (Really he signs it when he comes to give her the ring.)
We hung out together in the afternoon and then came back and dressed for dinner.
I felt the weekend was too special and too important not to include Dad in some way. We planned that he would join us for dinner on the second evening. For the first two, I searched in advance to find a nice restaurant nearby and my daughter and I dressed up in our very best dresses. I wanted her to know that this was a special time. When we entered the hotel lobby on our way to the restaurant, Dad was waiting in his best suit. Both girls were so emotionally moved that they cried. We took lots of pictures and headed to dinner.
The third daughter is a little more casual so we didn't dress up as much. Dad was afraid she may have overheard conversations about the first two "Purity Weekends" and might be expecting him. He wanted to be sure to surprise her so he hid in the trunk of the van! After we arrived at the restaurant and parked in the lot, I opened the hatch and Dad jumped out. Anna was completely surprised!
My husband treated all our daughters with honor, opened the car door for them, pulled back their chairs at dinner and showed by example how a future husband should treat his wife. During dinner our daughters told Dad about what she had learned and what we had done during the weekend, without the interruption of siblings. Including Dad at this point was crucial because it established that all of these topics were open for discussion with Mom or Dad. Were the girls embarrassed? Not at all. At this age, most are still very open and uninhibited about discussing such issues.
After dinner, we returned back to the hotel and Dad presented his princess with a lovely purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to purity. He explained what the ring meant and placed it on her finger. This is also the time for Dad to sign the "Commitment to Courtship."
No Mom/No Dad
The letters on Purity and Sexuality could easily be used by single parents. However, the Courtship letter was clearly written with the understanding that both parents were married to each other and a part of raising the daughter. I realize that there are many other situations, but I couldn't figure out how to write that section in such a way to include all family situations. Don't let that stop you. You can make adjustments to the text as you read it to your daughter.
Single dads, you may not be comfortable with an overnight event, but don't pass up the opportunity to impart to your daughter the value of her purity.
Single moms, there are several options when it comes to presenting the ring. You could present the ring to her and explain the significance of purity. If Dad is a believer and actively involved in protecting her, you may invite Dad to come and participate in the dinner and be a part of giving the ring. Another option is to have a close male relative give the ring-your father, or brother. Again, this is someone who is actively involved in her life in a father-like role. Under no circumstances would I have your boyfriend present the ring. If your relationship doesn't work out, it could become a bad memory.
Concluding the Weekend
After Dad left, my daughter and I spent a second night at the hotel and had a final breakfast together. We drove home with a closeness we had never before experienced; it was a heart-to-heart experience. I can't say that everything was perfect after that, but for each daughter I can say that it was a very important foundational weekend in our relationship and that it opened the door to communication. I am still reaping the benefits today. Each of the girls asks if I have anything else to tell them because they want to do it all over again!
It is my prayer that The Gift of Purity will be a blessing to you and your family. Please feel free to email any questions you may have or any comments about your special weekend with your daughter.