Part of my driving parenting philosophies is that of the "Axiom of Pink Elephants." The axiom basically states that, if you don't want them to think about pink elephants, don't tell them to not think about pink elephants. What is the first think you think of when you hear, "Don't think about pink elephants." That's right, you think about pink elephants. Simple really. But do note: this is not anywhere near the notion of "Not talking about the elephant in the room."
I had made the intentional decision to not "make a point," not to make a "pink elephant" so to speak, of girlfriends and boyfriends. Let sleeping dogs lie and all that... that is, until they get up from the porch and charge you. Well, I had made that point to not make a point, and then, well then, something happened at school.
Whilst picking my son and daughter up from school, my son, in an excited furtiveness, proceeds to recount the experience of having a little girl tell him she likes him, and wants to be his girlfriend. So, I asked the obvious and only question a father could ask, "what did you say?" Very emphatically, and maybe somewhat proudly, he replied he told her he didn't like her and didn't want a girlfriend.
The story was even more amusing when it was recounted, by my son at my prompting, to his mother (who works nights and wakes late in the afternoon/early evening). The knowing, bemused glances exchanged between us, the subtextual humor we vibe off of together. Hey, they are six years old, in kindergarten: a few well placed comments and instruction, and all will be well, no need to take a pink elephant and turn it into a golden calf. I don't recall what my wife said, but remember it was sagacious, and amounted to saying good for him, he was too young.
I guess, in that moment, my attitude toward my son was one which forestalled judgement -- especially of the issues at play, knowing the deeper significance of both romantic love (the likes of which, developmentally, my son is too young to experience or deal with), and the nature of the situation (for my son, in his emotional landscape) as being more about his being proud of his response than anything else.
Putting slightly more of a finer point on it: knowing the complexities and scope of the issues I also knowingly (and compassionately and understandingly) elected to focus on the emotional landscape of my son, the landscape through he viewed the situation. I was amused with his being so proud of himself, and was accepting of him, wanting to grow him emotionally (where needed), or keep encouraging his direction (of growth), facilitating it even.
I very much see God's father heart in this experience, His desire to be open to us, to be accepting of us, to wanting firstly to intimately know us through our experience. I think we see this in the story of "Greatest Commandment" from the New Testament book of Matthew, 22:38,
"34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”"Specifically, the emphasis on loving your neighbor as yourself, as the second greatest commandment (itself like the first), to me, shows God's judgement-forestalling, accepting heart concerned with the personal maturity and growth of the doer, the one counted as Son and Daughter.