COLUMN: The ‘virtue’ of good communication

Last week, we learned that American television is interested in virgins – actually, four in particular, all of whom hail from Abbotsford.

Last week, we learned that American television is interested in virgins – actually, four in particular, all of whom hail from Abbotsford.

Keep your jokes to yourself… It seems a couple of U.S. TV networks find it rather fascinating these four 20-somethings would a) still be virgins, or reasonable facsimile thereof; b) admit it; and c) write a blog about the whole concept of saving oneself for marriage. It is unusual in this day and age, one has to admit.

We are bombarded daily with sexually charged marketing and entertainment. And in that context, the concept of abstinence prior to marriage does pose a contrast of values.

I recall as a teenager, I was not a fan of virginity – mine, or whatever lovely lady I had designs on. In fact, I found the condition to be virtually insurmountable for some time.

Marriage being the gateway to physical relations was nowhere on the personal radar. Clearly, I did not appreciate what the parents had instilled in those good gals, nor their personal commitment to the cause.

Now, as the father of a 14-year-old daughter who is increasingly becoming the apple of a host of young male eyes, I heartily endorse all aforementioned traditional institutions, up to and including segregation of the genders until at least university age. (OK, maybe the latter is a little over the top for contemporary society.)

Hypocritical? Hey, when it comes to parenting, it’s do as I say, not as I did.

Kidding aside, it’s interesting how one’s outlook often changes with parenthood. As I discovered a long time ago, one of the great challenges in fatherhood is explaining to one’s little girl the mystery of boys, which is entirely different than the mystery of girls, which is still pretty much a mystery to me.

There’s the basic instinct of protecting your daughter from all and sundry, while preparing her for the world. In that respect, it should be simple enough. Demonize the entire male population, and the issue is addressed! Wait a minute, though; that would include me. OK, can’t have that. And it might have detrimental effects on her relationships, like when she’s 30 or thereabouts.

So you have to approach this whole topic of virtue carefully. Especially when she relates the alarming progress some of her colleagues are making in terms of the first kiss, and other such early contact. It’s a delicate topic that cannot be handled by locating the young gentlemen, and scaring their emerging hormones into remission.Clearly, with good guidance, the girls can deal with it better.

I recall with fond amusement a scenario that occurred many years back. Anna happened to mention that some of the boys who played soccer at lunch wanted her and her friends to be cheerleaders for them.

I sagely pointed out that she and her friends also play soccer, and if the boys wanted the girls to cheer them on during their game, they should be willing to do the same when the girls play. She agreed that was an equitable arrangement.

So, the next day I followed up. What did the boys say?

“Well, first it was no, no and no. Then they did a chicken dance. Then they made cow noises. And then finally, I think we were starting to communicate with them!”

I didn’t have the heart at the time to tell her it doesn’t get much easier as she gets older. The good news is, there are some fine fellows out there. It’s just a matter of finding one. Don’t suppose you’d want my help with that…?