A few months ago my 14 year old daughter and I went away for another special weekend. It was our Passport 2 Identity weekend. We used the program from Family Life Today. I started with praying for wisdom and insight into the issues my sweet girl faces. I picked a date and then I went on a discount travel site and booked a night at a hotel near the beach for us. I planned an activity for the second afternoon, just like Passport 2 Purity. On Groupon I found a local scavenger hunt that is done on your cellphone. It allows you to compete and compare finishing times with other teams. I knew my eight months pregnant belly was not going to win us any prizes, but we love a good scavenger hunt, so we were going to try anyway. I skimmed through what we would be discussing and then purchased my daughter a little gift to commemorate the weekend. Her dad and I picked out personalized stationery for our young writer.
There are separate programs for girls and guys, of course, their identities being so different. This is a confusing culture in which to try to figure out what it means to be a woman. I am thankful for a little help in starting discussions with my daughter that are meaningful and relevant.
We started the weekend Friday night, listening to the CDs in the car (also available in mp3 format). Faith filled out the outline in her “travel journal” while we listened. She is a verbal processor (she thinks out loud while she talks) so we paused frequently for discussion. Of course, we were constantly behind schedule because of it, but discussion is really what the weekend is about, so we did it anyway. The first session on independence was full of attention grabbing stories and illustrations. We discussed them stretched out on the beach, listened some more, then discussed more at dinner. The “Back Up” project that goes with session 1 was especially exciting for a 14 year old looking forward to driving. There were no safe spots to practice backing up a car in the very crowded tourist part of the city we were staying in, so we opted to save that project for the second day and use our church parking lot.
The book recommends finishing breakfast and starting session 3 by 8:30 a.m. But they have never met my daughter and I. That would not be a fun weekend. So we opted to stay up late, sleep until 10:00 a.m. and finish the last session after dinner that evening. That last one was a little hurried, though.
The session that seemed most impactful for my daughter was the 5th one “Your Mission”. Discussing mentorship and vocation really moved her to action. She has been seriously contemplating her future work since then.
I cannot emphasize enough the value of getting your child alone, in a fun atmosphere, and casually discussing what is on their minds, especially regarding important issues they will face. The investment of my time, a night in a hotel room and a couple of meals pays off big dividends in holding my child’s heart. It tells them that they are valuable and that these issues, who we are and why we are here, are important enough to warrant an investment of time and money in the answering. I am giving my girls an education of course, but more than that, I am giving them me. And there is no substitute for parents that care.
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