While serving as bishop in a young single adult ward, I couldn’t help but notice how young people handled their emerging relationships.
I was increasingly worried about those who approached dating with very little purpose, understanding, or direction.
Our efforts resulted in the “Richardson Dating Academy,” which you can read about in more detail in this month’s issue of the The more my wife and I counseled together, the more we realized this wasn’t just a good idea; it was our parental responsibility. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that parents “have not only the right but the sacred obligation, and they are under counsel from the leaders of the Church, to concern themselves with [their children’s] dating habits.” While we were emboldened, we were still unsure of exactly how we could fulfill our goals.
For example, we would take them to a variety of social events and ask them to observe other couples.
We often read together and discussed Church standards on how to develop relationships.
We found that it was a good idea to mix up the settings for our various discussions.
The Richardson Dating Academy—or RDA, as our children called it—officially started for each of our children when he or she turned 13 years old.
Using our curriculum outline as a guide, we intentionally made time to talk with our children about the purpose and timing of dating, courting, engagement, and even marriage.
We used family home evenings, the dinner table, father’s interviews, and even driving in the car. Conversation topics included whom to date, what to do or not to do on a date, common courtesies, ideas for good activities, and how to act in mixed company.