When I wrote this story for children in 1999, I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that my kindergartener had come home saying she needed a boyfriend because all her girlfriends had one. I knew how to write stories, and so the answer to my frantic prayer that night ("Help!") came in the form of one.
Since then, the book has sold over 350,000 copies, and as a classic "fairy tale," will likely be a favorite for generations. It's been presented in every format you can imagine - ballet, expert puppetry, readers' theater, drama and musical, not just here, but in foreign countries as well.
But the most recent genre - a documentary - has been an unexpected and delightful surprise.
A Courtship is a film by Amy Kohn that presents the story of a young woman who decides that she wants to wait for God to show her a husband instead of looking for one herself. The story begins with The Princess and the Kiss being read to her. She ends up in tears because she's already given her first kiss away, and determines to make a fresh start and save her kiss for the man she will marry.
Because her parents think this idea is crazy, she enlists the help of another couple to pray for her and "vet" any guy who might approach her. I don't know the whole story, because only the trailer is available until November 17 (although the movie can be pre-purchased through iTunes right now), but I'm excited to see it.
In our hyper-sexualized, hookup culture, some of us recognize that something is sadly out of whack. Shouldn't there be a better way of doing relationships?
From the opposite angle, I've been heartbroken over the stories of parents using The Princess as a way to "guilt" their kids into sexual purity, i.e. "If you don't save yourself (or even your actual kiss) until marriage, you're damaged goods."
This cruel lie has astonished me. Aren't Christian people saved by grace? How ludicrous it is not to practice that same grace towards our own children! Thus, the ideal of the story must be tempered by the truth of second chances and new beginnings. And that's exactly what the young woman in this story chooses.
Though I do not view this strict method of "courting" as the only option for relationships, I'm delighted by the conversation it will create. The way much of society approaches relationships now is chaotic, destructive and selfish. We can do so much better. That's why Planned Purity gives parents other options, begging them to PLAN from a child's youngest years, starting with tending a heart of virtue, reminding them that grace and forgiveness must be practiced as an evolving family strategy is crafted for lives of sexual integrity and respect.