Can I kiss you?

  • Published
  • By Paula Spooner
  • 81st Medical Operations Squadron
As the family advocacy outreach manager, I routinely meet with newly-assigned first sergeants to provide information they may find useful as leaders.

A couple of months ago, after discussing family advocacy reporting requirements and options, available programs and upcoming classes, I asked Master Sgt. Zack Pate, 333rd Training Squadron, if he had any final questions. He thought for a long moment, then said, "Well, just one. I have a pre-teen daughter who is going through a lot of changes. I want to be able to talk to her about important things - boys, dating, how to stay safe. I mean, I'm a guy and I know how guys think. How long should I wait? Just when should I start having these talks with her?"

First, I was delighted that he, as the father of a young lady, was thinking about broaching these subjects. The more we discussed her maturity level, interests and personality, the more it appeared that he probably should have initiated a conversation before now. Assuring him it is never too late, I offered to provide him links to several parent and teen-friendly web sites that would provide interactive education on healthy relationships, dating, peer pressure, saying and respecting no, bullying, self-esteem and more.

The bottom line is that society's older teens and young adults need all the tools they can get to successfully navigate today's tricky dating culture. Identifying what is considered acceptable and not acceptable is no longer clear cut. And parents of younger teens and tweens are increasingly concerned about those worrisome news headlines that depict unhealthy and even dangerous sexual behaviors. However, we know that merely admonishing our kids that "young men and women should never..." isn't effective. What to do? Well, enter Mike Domitrz.

Mike Domitrz is a nationally-renowned author and expert on dating intimacy. In fact, as the founder of the "Date Safe Project," he has identified real solutions to current dating dilemmas and presents them in a program that is humorous, thought- provoking, entertaining, yet sensitive to each critical topic being addressed. Every single skill he teaches is instantly usable, as soon as program attendees walk out the door.

But here comes the best part: Mike is coming to Keesler! So it doesn't matter what your relationship status is; you, your partner and dating-age kids can attend his award-winning program, "Can I Kiss You?" absolutely free!

High schools and campuses have praised the "Date Safe Project" for how they present such a complicated topic in a straightforward, funny, refreshing manner. Students love the humor, emotion and the relevance of the skills to their lives. Parents appreciate the common-sense solutions that go a long way toward enhancing a safer dating culture. It's a big win-win.

So mark your calendars now. He will be presenting his program at Keesler on Aug. 1 and 2 to base personnel but has scheduled a special presentation for parents and teens at the Bay Breeze Event Center Ballroom at 7 p.m. Aug. 1. Registration is encouraged but not required.

For more information, call the Sexual Assault Prevention Resonse Office at 228-377-8635.