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Jim Ryun is the three-time Olympian and world-record holder in the mile. The article explains the family's philosophy toward dating, which is actually a philosophy of nondating, dubbed "courtship." "Courtship can mean different things in different circles, but for our family it means that if a young man wants to date one of our daughters, he contacts the father and asks to take the daughter out," explain Mama and Papa Ryun.(The article adds magnanimously and parenthetically, "Of course, the mother can take this role in families where the father is not available.") This is actually a little misleading, since permission is never granted to "take the daughter out." Courtship, the Ryuns explain, "means that the young man must be spiritually and financially prepared to marry her if they fall in love.But if this doesn't describe the Ultimate Paternal Control Freak, what would qualify?Daughters are clearly possessions in this household.) Needless to say, none of their children is married, engaged, or, one gathers, "courting." They are ages 20 through 25."[B]ut we aren't worried, since we know God has a plan for their lives." I think it would be nice if society downplayed the dating pressures kids often feel by middle school, and encouraged postponing marriage until both parties are mature, have finished schooling and are income-earning.Incidentally, the December newsletter, called "Prayer Lines," reports that four of the five staff members are new moms.Ken Waggoner on the staff is pleased as punch to announce that "All four new moms have elected to stay home full time, so we're in the process of rebuilding our team here at NDP." Deep thinker Kay Parker, a coordinator, offensively writes: "I believe, very strongly, that the turning of our nation to a more conservative nature and the 1994 elections are results of the prayers that were offered on the National Day of Prayer, but I also believe the forewarnings we're receiving (hurricanes, drought, flooding and the Oklahoma bombing) are a taste of the judgment that could come to the United States.
Yes, indeed, the Ryuns write: "In our home, a young man interested in Heather or Catharine is apt to find himself playing basketball with Ned and Drew [their brothers], or helping out in the kitchen after dinner."But wait, there's even more fun in store for the young man "interested" in Ryun's children.
The parents pray and, if the young woman has a reciprocal interest in the young man, her father talks through courtship and its expectations with the fellow."Wouldn't you love to eavesdrop on this conversation?!