Saturday, March 2, 2013

PRE-DATING BOOT CAMP

  GUYS AND GIRLS - A GUIDE FOR PRE-DATERS
There is a big transition in the relationship between girls and boys during the years they are in Young Women. Some girls (and most boys) are still in the "cooties and hair-pulling" phase when they turn 12, but they must learn to start to relate to each other as equals during their Beehive/Deacon years. By the time they are Mia Maids/Teachers, they are expected to be more mature and start relating to each other in pre-dating situations (ie, church dances). And finally as Laurels they are old enough to start dating. Luckily, they are able to learn line upon line...
 
Some of the issues that I've observed in our area (and I imagine that these are pretty common everywhere) are:
  • Girls avoiding eating in front of boys (seems to be a behavior copied from older girls)
  • Deacon & Beehive age kids teasing each other & sometimes crossing the line to being mean
  • Girls standing in groups and whispering/giggling about boys
  • Girls making a big deal when a girl gets asked out on a date ("Ooooooh....he LIKES you!")
  • A boy or a girl assuming that a date (or several dates) means that they're a "couple"
  • Girls (16 & up) who wish they had more dates
  • Girls and boys (14 & up) too intimidated or shy to go to church dances
To address some of these issues, we will be having "pre-dating boot camp" for the Mia Maids. My husband used to teach a similar class for Young Men called "Dating Boot Camp" in a previous ward. It was always a big hit. We will be doing basically the same thing, just for the girls this time.
 It doesn't really have anything to do with "boot camp", we just thought it sounded more fun to call it that (If you wanted to have a boot camp theme, like have the presenter wear camo or something, that would be fun!) 

I geared this activity to be specifically for our Mia Maids, but it could be adapted for the needs of Beehives or Laurels as well. A lesson for the Beehives could focus more on how to treat boys as friends and equals (and discuss why boys do some of the things they do, like teasing). An activity for the Laurels might focus more on the dating aspects, how to accept or turn down a date, how to keeps things casual, (and maybe date ideas?). You could also have a general presentation for all the girls together, then split them up into age-specific mini-classes.

Here is the handout we are giving the Mia Maids to try to drum up interest in the activity: 

This Wednesday night for Mutual: LEARN ABOUT BOYS at “pre-dating boot camp”
Brother Rogers will be giving a presentation about how to understand and interact with boys as friends and in pre-dating situations like dances, etc. He will also give some tips on how to relate to boys in dating situations that will help you prepare for when you’re old enough to start dating.

 Some of the topics covered will be:
·   Why do some girls avoid eating in front of guys?What do boys think of that?
·   Should a girl ask a guy to dance?
·   If a guy asks you on a date does it mean he ‘likes’ you?
·   Why do guys show off so much?
·   Should you ever turn a boy down if he asks you to dance?
·   How can you turn someone down without being mean?
·   What can girls do to encourage more guys to dance?
·   What can girls do to encourage guys to date more?
·   Is there anything that girls do that confuses guys (or makes it hard for them to approach girls)?

We have sent out an email survey to every boy we know in the Stake between the ages of 14-18 and got THEIR answers to all THESE questions (and more!). To find out what their answers were, come to this activity!!!
 
I really did send out a survey to some of the Young Men (14 & up) in our Stake. I sent it to some of the boys in our ward  and also to boys that we know in other wards in the area. I wanted to get real opinions from real boys who live right here. Here is the message I sent out (via Facebook personal message):

"My husband and I are putting on a pre-dating workshop in our ward for some of our YW who are old enough to go to dances and will start dating soon. He wants to get some info from young men in our Stake to help our YW out.
If you have a few minutes to spare, please reply to this 11-question questionnaire (below). Most of the questions have yes or no answers. We are sending this out to all of the YM we know who are 14 and up. We want to get feedback that is relevant in our area. YOUR NAME WILL NOT BE USED AT ALL, so feel free to answer honestly. Some of the questions are about dating, so if you are under 16, just give your opinion about the dating questions anyhow.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!!!

1. Do you think its unlady-like for a girl to eat in front of guys?
2. Would you think it was strange if a girl didn’t want to eat in front of you?
3. Is there any reason why girls should try to pretend like they don’t eat much?
4. Should girls ask guys to dance?
5. If a girl asks a guy to dance, does that mean she must ‘like’ him?
6. If a guy asks a girl to dance, does that mean he must ‘like’ her?
7. Do guys in our Stake ask a variety of girls out on dates (for fun and as friends) or mostly just ask the girl(s) they are interested in romantically?
8. Would you ask a girl out (for a date) as friends if you didn’t ‘like’ her (romantically)?
9. Are guys concerned that asking a girl out for a date as friends might be misunderstood as romantic?
10. Would it be easier for guys to ask more girls out if the girls didn’t jump to conclusions that it means they ‘like’ her?
11. Is there anything that girls do that you wish they wouldn’t?"

We based our questions on issues that we have observed in our area, but you can adjust them to suit your needs. This is an opportunity to reinforce the standards in For the Strength of Youth, so you could also cover topics like "Do boys find it easier to talk to girls who dress modestly?" There is an excellent article from the New Era magazine (HERE) that covers a lot of these issues and may give you more ideas.

I have received back answers from 90% of the boys I sent the survey to. I can tell you, I am not shocked by their answers - they were exactly what I predicted they would say. Actually, their answers were nearly identical to each other...
I've combined the responses I've received into a general answer below:

1. Do you think its unlady-like for a girl to eat in front of guys?  No
2. Would you think it was strange if a girl didn’t want to eat in front of you? Yes
3. Is there any reason why girls should try to pretend like they don’t eat much? No
4. Should girls ask guys to dance? Yes, if they want to (one boy pointed out that girls should not repeatedly ask the same boy, because that limits who he gets to meet/dance with, though he might not say so)
5. If a girl asks a guy to dance, does that mean she must ‘like’ him? No (unless they keep asking the same boy over and over)
6. If a guy asks a girl to dance, does that mean he must ‘like’ her? No (unless they keep asking the same girl over and over)
7. Do guys in our Stake ask a variety of girls out on dates (for fun and as friends) or mostly just ask the girl(s) they are interested in romantically? Mostly just for fun, a variety.
8. Would you ask a girl out (for a date) as friends if you didn’t ‘like’ her (romantically)? Yes
9. Are guys concerned that asking a girl out for a date as friends might be misunderstood as romantic?Yes, they sometimes assume it means more, and that can be awkward
10. Would it be easier for guys to ask more girls out if the girls didn’t jump to conclusions that it means they ‘like’ her? Yes, much easier. Would definitely ask out more girl if guys didn't have to worry about this.
11. Is there anything that girls do that you wish they wouldn’t? Don't be so shy, don't giggle so much, don't stand in a group of girls in a dance and giggle - that makes it hard for boys to ask, don't assume that dates are romantic - its supposed to be casual.

I will add more details about the activity and how it went after the activity is over (next week)!
 

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing with us! My 12 year old daughter and her friend came to me one day and asked if they could publish a website to teach people about being LDS and use it as a value project. The site is LOL 4 LDS – lessons of life for LDS http://lol.worldxn.net/introduction/

    They have done a wonderful job! I am trying to help get the word out. I was hoping that you would take a look at it and possibly add a link to your page. We would be happy to put a link on her page to your site if that is okay with you. Thank you in advance.

    I couldn't find a contact page, I didn't know where else to post.

    Nancy

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    1. Thanks so much! That is wonderful that your daughter is taking initiative and being a missionary. I will check it out!

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  2. What an awesome activity idea!! And so relevant for these kids! I would have loved something like this when I was in YW, because you know what... I did almost all those things in your questionnaire. It worked out in the end and I've been happily married for 7 years and we have 2 beautiful children and one more on the way, BUT it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment, tearful nights wondering what was so wrong with me, and probably would have given me the opportunity to meet a lot more people, had I not been so wrapped up in ridiculous ideas...
    Thank you so much for sharing this idea!! How did your activity end up going?

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    1. Thanks so much! The activity went really well! A pleasant side-effect of doing this activity was that I think it got the boys thinking about it, also (since they had to think about the questions!) and I've noticed some improvement in how the boys and girls are interacting!

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  3. I am a laurel and I am planning a class activity about dating. I was searching everywhere trying to find something fun! I found this and I think it is amazing! I have asked several priests to answer some of these questions as well as some of my own, and I have had a lot of fun hearing what they have to say! This is a fantastic idea! Thank you so much!

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  4. What about what guys do that annoys girls? What a bout girls asking boys out? This seems sexist to me.

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  5. How did this activity go and was wondering if you had more of the questions you asked everyone? We are wanting to do this activity in 2 weeks! Thanks for sharing, such a cute idea!

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  6. How exactly did you run the activity? What did it look like? How did it go? I'm interested in this idea but not very creative when it comes to presenting it :) Thanks!

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