Wednesday, September 15, 2010
“…there’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother” –Proverbs 18:24
There aren't many things more valuable than good close friends. Friends come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. There are best friends, fair weather friends, friends of a feather, and Facebook friends.
When he was a little guy, I remember my son, Eric, describing two of his best friends. He said that one of his friends was his best friend, but the other friend was his “silly friend.” I’m still not sure what he meant.
Friends are such a huge motivator for teenagers. The desire to belong and be included begins early in a child’s life and becomes a top priority by adolescents. It’s important that we teach our children about healthy friendships and what a difference being a true loving friend can make in our lives
My definition of “friend” has changed so many times in my life. When I was in grade school, my best bud was named Eric (I too was Eric, but everyone called me Joey). Our main activity was playing in the woods behind my house. Joe and Ricky were two of my best friends in junior high school. We had many a slumber party at each other’s houses. In high school, I hung out with Russell and Bill all the time and we played sports together.
Then I went off to college all the way to Baylor. Okay, it was only 2 hours away from home, but a long way from the familiar. It was there I met two of my best friends to this day, John and Donny.
And now I live with my best friend, Jeanie. She truly is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and she been so loyal and believing in me for 30 years. I am so thankful for the special friends the Lord has brought my way.
Remind your kids that best friends are usually for a season. “Best” friends sometimes change through life, all examples of how God provides just what we need at the right time.
In my experience with teens, they usually hang out with the kind of friends they feel like they deserve. When self-image and confidence are in doubt, there is a tendency for teens (and adults) to desire fellowship and friendship with people that are not a perceived threat to that fragile self-image. Simply put, unhealthy people are attracted to unhealthy friends and healthy people are attracted to healthy friends.
Help your child walk through the friend journey carefully. Be sure there is an open dialogue about their friendships. Don't be judgmental or over controlling. Avoid the “west side story” syndrome: telling your kids whom they can and can't befriend. They’ll tend to hang with the one’s you like the least.
Teach your kids the most important lesson about friendship: how to be a true friend. The saying, “to make a friend, be a friend” is true. Teach them to respect and honor their friendships.
And be sure they hear about the most important friendship there is: a relationship with Jesus Christ, who calls us friend. It’s the only friendship that is solid as a rock and never changing.
We certainly don't deserve that friendship with Jesus, but by His grace, we can have a 24-hour slumber party with Him everyday!
By Eric Joseph Staples ©