A Toddler’s Guide to Biblical Wooing

When I taught high school, I had the glorious opportunity to observe the ‘Spring Fever’ phenomenon. It’s a bit like watching the Discovery Channel during mating season episodes- 7 hours a day of teen-shape- walking- hormone entertainment. As the animal kingdom demonstrates in wide variety, the pairing process can be complex. Even one-night-stands have a bit of a dance, although some are less graceful than others. (Jersey Shore fist bump? Ew.)  A key part of the ‘dance’ is watching young men compete for the position of top dog in the perspective of a young lady.   I largely just sat back and enjoyed the show, although on occasion I did jot down some mental notes from the true highlights of the “Playa’s Handbook”. As usual, it was obvious who read the book and who read the Cliffnotes.

To my great horror, it occurs to me that one day my sons will be a pile of raging hormones that permeate the air with the smell of sweat and testosterone.

I will take a moment to weep and wail, but then I will begin the mission of teaching proper pursuit procedures. I figured I had at least until after potty training to form a concrete plan on how to instill Godly values into my son regarding women, but last night I was proved very, very wrong. Yesterday, my one year old had his first play date with a girl.  My son has been around plenty of little girls, but most of his peers are also male. My son will sometimes smile and flirt, but he is much more interested in snack time.  Why should this be any different? (Half my mom-friends just laughed until they snorted. I forgive you.)

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As soon as AJ and her Momma walked into the house I knew I was doomed. This darling little girl had a lot going for her.  She’s a Texan, has a fun and very sweet demeanor, and is usually smiling under huge dimples. She’s polite (Peese and dank you), has blue eyes and reddish pig tails, and loves to play with dogs. She’s also doing well in her pre-school and has been working on early potty-training. What a catch- the total toddler package. I was in SO much trouble.  While AJ barely acknowledged my son at first, he just stared at her, totally enthralled. After the black lab had been properly adored, we all went to the back play room.

At this point, my little boy somehow summoned theme music to “Macho Man”. He began a wooing of Biblical proportions. He instituted a method that my sister and I affectionately call:

 “The Jacob Method of Dating: Climbing Love’s Ladder of Success”.

For clarification, this references Genesis 29, wherein Jacob/ Israel meets and pursues Rachel. The pun on Jacob’s ladder is from Genesis 28, as he is traveling to find Laban, who will be his eventual father-in-law.

  1.       Define mission and go forth. In this case, find a wife from a known and familiar family that you can bring home to Momma. (Gen 28:46)

My son was minding his own business and playing happily, and then joined in play time as his mother instructed. He shared quite nicely and refrained from fussing.

  1. Determine and go to proper location for meeting a desirable woman. Do some research and get the skinny.(Gen 29:1-3)  Well, AJ came to him. Homecourt advantage. However, he spent some time carefully watching before engaging. 

 

  1. See a desirable girl. Confirm identity to avoid all sorts of problems (Gen 29:1-3) Forgetting to do so backfires on wedding nights (Gen 29: 22-25)  As instructed, he waved and said, “Hi” to AJ.
  2. 4.       Impress the girl with physical prowess, like moving something very heavy (Gen 29:10).

This is where it got interesting and gender differences became VERY evident. AJ proceeded to pet the dog, played carefully with the musical toys, and put on my sparkly flip flops correctly. (They even went with her outfit. What a girl!) My son, however, threw himself down onto a play comforter in tackle form, threw a ball, and gave an empty box the beating of its life, occasionally stopping to confirm that AJ, I, and all the other ladies were properly observing this demonstration.

  1. 5.       Run over to the girl, kiss her, and then cry. (Gen 29: 11-12)

Well…kinda. He did run to her, but all kisses were done with the pacifier in the mouth. He presses his lips to you, but hasn’t mastered much else. He did cry over dinner, but he needed another dose of decongestant. After that he resumed showing off.

  1. 6.       Meet the father and impress him. Setbacks may occur, but determination wins out. (Gen 29: 12-25)

He crawled into AJ’s mother’s lap, gave her pacifier kisses, and gave her snuggles. He then allowed AJ to take his toys and impressed her with awesome dance moves, such as The Worm.  

  1. 7.       Marry girl. (Gen 29:26)
  2. 8.       Buy a much bigger dining room table. (Gen 30)

Now, naturally and thankfully, my beloved son only made it to step 5 last night.  I must say, he picked a great girl. She was an excellent influence. At the end of the night she had a major successful step in her potty-training as well; this girl has it together.

So, why is this Jacob’s method? Most obviously, it worked. Jacob had a stressed relationship with his twin Esau and saw the distress that comes from marrying women that Momma doesn’t approve of…or tolerate.  

Genesis 28: 46 “Then Rebekah said to Isaac: I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”  Another life lesson courtesy of Mama Drama.

As Jacob travels and comes to a well, several shepherds are standing around at the Old Testament water-cooler shooting the breeze. Verse 1-3 say that the rock covering the well was very large and took several men to move, so they are waiting for everyone to show up. Still, Jacob is wondering what everyone is standing around for. When surrounded by lollygaggers, the one who shows initiative stands out. Who’s that knocking? Oh…hello opportunity!

“While he was still speaking to them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel…Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother. “

Did you catch that?  Here comes Rachel with a herd of sheep, unable to water them because all the men are sitting on their thumbs. Enter Jacob, who rolled the stone away. Whether he started and other men helped or whether he got a tremendous adrenaline rush that comes when a man displays his abilities for a girl, Jacob provided for her and then watered her flock. That is a large task that would have made quite a statement. This isn’t just holding the door open; this is building Rachel her own private entrance.

Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father. ” Verse 9-12

This may sound odd, but as one who has found fellow Aggies, Texans, and even English speakers while living in the scattered places the Army sends me to, I can see the joy in finding some common people. Now, he ended up staying and working 7 years for Laban… plenty of time for courtship, proving himself, and falling deeply in love with her. Hence, one of the most popular verses among women: “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Genesis 29: 20. (Now is the time to “awww” or vomit; whichever life application you see fit.)

I don’t know how long it will be before my dear sons start using the ‘Jacob Method’ intentionally, but I do get nervous at the thought of the process. I am sure more than 7 years of hard work will be involved.  While my sons will not be fathers of nations with descendents like the stars, I am looking forward to Step 7: a large dining room table with grandkids to love.

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