How to talk to Kids about Friendship
By Moira Gardener and Sarah Brouwer
Friends, we all need them, but how do we find them? We can act cool and try to break into the ‘in’ crowd, but when we need a real friend, will the ‘in’ crowd be there for us? And how long can we wear the mask we need to wear to be ‘in’, and what if they find out who we really are and reject us? The process sounds pretty stressful to me.
Friends are important because God made us for relationship and who we hang out with does have an impact on us. But God actually intended us to have a close relationship with Him. He wants to be our best friend. He modeled true friendship in the person of Jesus Christ. If we look to people to find our best friend, sometimes the price can be as high as compromising our integrity or values, especially if we’re trying to fake it until we make it. And in those moments, by whose standards are we measuring “making it”?
The most courageous thing we can do is be ourselves. And finding true friends starts by being a real friend. It’s a lot less stressful, and when we make a connection called friendship, chances are it’ll last. Even when it doesn’t, we have Christ who never leaves.
True friendship is a novel concept in our Facebook, tweeting internet society. This begs us to question what real friendship looks like. Making a connection as ourselves (the only thing we have control over) will determine the outcome providing the other person wants our friendship. Let’s turn to Christ for a role model. Christ is kind, trustworthy, loving, forgiving, has clear boundaries, never ditches anyone even when he’s ditched, and always puts the other person first. These are a few of His character qualities.
Being a friend to someone else means practicing all of these things. But I believe it is easier to do when we first have Christ as our best friend and let him help us to grow into the kind of person God wants us to be. Treating others the way we want to be treated is a biblical value and a good place to go after mustering the courage to be ourselves.
Practical qualities for friendship are: agree on how to act towards one another, love each other with a Godly love, welcome each other when you meet, be a trusted confidant, teach and learn from each other, be patient with one another, and adopt a servant’s attitude. This last one means looking out for the others’ best interest and not our own all the time. It’s a pretty tall order!
Even when we have a real friendship, we are human and there are times we will need to forgive each other. Human beings, being imperfect, always let each other down. And when they do, we have a choice to make. Forgiveness is a given if we want to be free of bitterness. But even then do we keep the friendship? It needs to depend on what happened. Do we value the friendship enough to move forward, or do we pick ourselves up and part ways?
Helping children navigate broken friendships can be difficult. Children often make friendships easily. Just spend five minutes at a playground to observe this. We, as adults, could learn a few tips. But when it comes to being hurt by friends, children need our help to walk forgiveness, and to learn how to be a good friend in spite of poor examples.
Another thing about human relationships; even when we are being a friend it doesn’t always mean it will be reciprocated. If the other person doesn’t want to be friends, or treats us poorly we have to be prepared to move on to other people.
But where are friends found? God is aware of our need, and if we prayerfully look to Him, He’ll bring them to us as we live out our lives daily doing activities we love to do. We need to pay attention to those around us looking to meet the needs of others instead of navel gazing.
Bottom Line: Trust God and Christ as our best friend trust he’ll bring the right people into our lives; and be a friend to others.
A friend is someone who is trustworthy and treats others as they wish to be treated.
In God’s timing he will bring human friends, in the meantime learn to be a friend.
Find friends in everyday life doing what you love to do and be aware of others around you instead of navel gazing.
All we have control of is who we are and how we treat others. Christ is our best friend, always there.
We were made for relationship and this is why we need friendships. Once again God desires a relationship with us himself (as best friends).
CHECK IT OUT
- Proverbs 18:21 one good friend is worth more than many who are not. (Paraphrased)
- 1 Peter 4:8-10 … keep loving on another … welcome one another
- Ephesians 4:2 …be patient, bearing one another in love.
- Galatians 5:13 …but through love serve one another.
For more scripture on friendship check http://www.openbible.info/topics/friendship