Entries RSS Comments RSS

Fabulous Family Friday–What About Friends?



It’s been a whirlwind week–well, a few nights ago, literally!  ;)

Susannah and Cassia were at orchestra camp this week, so Monday was taking them there, last night was the concert, and today I went to get them.

Then we practiced for the Relay for Life we’re playing for tomorrow night (and that’s after a graduation open house that is 2 hours away!).

THEN I took them to the llama farm so they could work with their llamas, since they didn’t make the two meetings this week.


Oh, and the “literal whirlwind”?  Wednesday night Dallas and I drove home on the edge of a bad storm….well, I’ll post more about that next week!



What about friends for our children? 


Friends are wonderful!   And they can be terrible! 


I’m going to share a few nuggets of wisdom, which I’ve learned over the years and now see the fruit in my children.


I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but years ago I heard someone advocate being best friends within the family before having friends outside the family.


I took that to heart.


When Jessica and Leah were small, we had a neighbor girl that would come over a lot.  She was (and is!) a very nice girl, and I honestly had very little problems with her. 


But I made it very clear to my girls that if they did not treat each other kindly, that I was willing to send their friend back home, and I would tell her why (so she didn’t think it was something she had done!)!


Did I have to follow through on that threat?


Yes!  But not very often!


My girls knew I was serious when I said, “You must be best friends with each other first.  Friends come and go throughout your life, but your family is forever.”   Unless, of course, you destroy those relationships in childhood (or let them destroy them with each other). 


NO friend should ever be more important than a sister or brother.   My children have many good friends.   Some are real kindred spirits.  But their “bestest” friends, as we like to say, are right here at home.


That did not happen overnight or easily!


With the next two girls, there were times they had to sit next to their daddy or me during a church fellowship time after dinner instead of playing with their friends, because they had not been treating sisters kindly.  They get plenty of warning on this, but at some time, I had to make good my warnings and follow through.


You know what?  It is just as hard on me as it is on them!!!


And that is really the crux of the matter–


Are we willing, as mamas, to sacrifice our fellowship times to help develop this family unity? 


Let me tell you, it will be worth every sacrifice!


I quit going to a Take a Break for moms when my oldest two were younger.  It wasn’t that the church was a bad influence, or that the other children were so terrible.   No matter how Godly other people are, the fact is, we are all sinners and somehow, “familiarity breeds contempt”, or, “all our bad character will rub off more than the good if we spend too much time together”!


We quit taking the girls to a homeschool group’s meetings because the activities they had for the kids always centered around the gym, and my girls were put in awkward positions at times.


I don’t tell you this to make it seem like I was so wise and wonderful!!!  I had a hard time letting go of some of the things I had to let go of.  Remember, this was back in the dinosaur age of NO internet, NO e-mail,  NO texting, NO unlimited long distance, and we had the distinct privilege of being a GTE (now Verizon) strip right between two Sprints (now…I don’t know?  Who are they now?!), which meant–everything was long distance!!!


It was hard and lonely sometimes.  But of course, on this end of things, it was worth it!


That’s the way it is with so many things, isn’t it?  We have a hard time “sacrificing” something we think is for the greater good (and what God wants), but it’s hard.  Does it really matter?  Will it be worth it in the long run?


I’m here to tell you that YES!  YES IT IS!!!


If there is a common denominator in situations I’m aware of where the young people’s hearts are not with their family, it is they are very attached to their friends.


Again, friends can be good.  Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”


Let’s be honest, though.   The best sharpening will happen through the best friends who know you the best—your family.


There are many ways to “run away” from the character lessons God is trying to teach us through our family.   But mark my words that if you do manage to get out of “Family Character Training 101″, you will meet “Roommate Character Training 201″ without the benefit of having passed the first course!  Meaning–it will be harder!


Or you  might run into “Tough Professor 301″, or “Neighbor Doesn’t Like Me 401″.   Oh, and don’t forget “Employer Is Tougher Than the Professor 501″!  God will bring those character training opportunities back to you again and again until you learn them. 


Only they get harder each time.


We have to have a long-term vision for our children. We have to be willing to sacrifice present “peace” for what is best spiritually in the long run.


I would encourage you to work on family relationships–even if it means you have to let some activities go.    When you’re always “going”, it’s easy to avoid the character training that “boredom” will bring out of your children.  And you!!! *eek!*


I have been at functions where young people are surrounded by friends, but they are texting other friends!   ???


I have watched siblings cut each other down in public as if it were a great pasttime (getting a bit too comfortable with doing that privately and apparently caring more that their friends see they don’t care about their siblings so they can be “cool”?)


Unfortunately, I’ve also seen wives cut down their husbands in public!  That is NOT a good role-model, mama!  :(


What consistently comes out of our mouths shows where our hearts really are.   We might think we’re really not “that way”, but what is the “aroma of the heart”?  The fragrance from our words should be the same as as our Savior’s. 


That is really the litmus test, isn’t it?  Would Jesus cut down His brothers and sisters?  Would He rather ditch His siblings for His friends?  (Let’s remember He spent the first 30 years of His life with His family.  He spent 3 years with His disciples!  And His siblings could have been His disciples, too, had they believed.   We know James eventually became a “servant of the Lord Jesus Christ” as did Jude. )


Would Jesus be texting His friends while sitting next to His family?


Tough questions.  What are we allowing?  Are we avoiding it because it’s just the way it is?   Or it’s too hard to change or say no?


It isn’t easy to say no to our children.  Oh, it’s easy when they’re going to get burned on a hot stove to say, “NO!  Don’t touch!”


Can we see that they are burning family relationships?  Can we see the long-term “benefit” of saying no to too much time with friends to reap lovely fruit of family relationships?


My children are truly each others’ best friends.  Yes, they get on each other’s nerves.  Yes, we yell at each other (well, all but Leah! ;) ) And yes, we ask each other’s forgiveness to restore that relationship.


I encourage you to do all you can to keep your children’s hearts, and one thing you must be prayerfully vigilant about is who are your children’s friends, and how much time they spend with them (and with the advent of our technological age, that includes “spending time” with them via texting, e-mailing, on the phone, facebooking, twittering, etc.).


And that includes “good friends”, too.


Once again, I am NOT saying “Don’t let your children have friends!”  


I’m just saying, “Family First”!    Psalm 68:6 says, “God setteth the solitary in families…” not “God setteth the solitary in a circle of friends”!    (And yes, that would include only children!  They still have their parents to develop relationships with first!)


We are called the friends of God, true, but we’re even more the family of God.


The picture God has of marriage and of our relationship to Him and each other is that of a family.


(I think I see a pattern here….. ;) )


Let’s start with ourselves, and do the right thing in building relationships at home.


For from that platform, we will be better friends to others and better witnesses of His family!


Oh, and by the way—-my children are my best friends, too!


May God give you wisdom to keep (or get back) your children’s hearts and bless you as you do whatever it takes to be best friends with each other!


It will be worth it ALL!


Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “Fabulous Family Friday–What About Friends?”

  1. All I can say is … AMEN !! ~ Heather C.

  2. Oh, what a great, encouraging, post, and oh, so very true!!!!!! Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with us, your readers. :)


  3. Mama Mirage says:

    That is great food for thought! I have been trying to make it my goal to have my toddlers resolve offenses between them right away so there’s no time to build resentment. I had never really put into words why I am so insistant upon it. I guess maybe because I had such a rocky relationship with my sister and such a good one with my brother that I always wanted my own kids to be close. I hadn’t really thought much about the friend thing yet. Thank you for bringing it up. It’s good for me to think about and keep in mind. Actually the thing I struggle with currently is relatives. Mostly bratty cousins and pushy parents of those cousins who think their kids are angels and want to get together with us often. Among other things. Sometimes I spend 5 or 6 weeks in re-train mode after a visit with them and then they wonder why it’s taking so long for us to come back for another visit. You can’t just say to someone, “Well you see, every 2 months when my kids get together with your kids, my kids come home acting like brats and it takes me 6 weeks to fix their little attitudes again and then we’re already in planning mode for the next visit! I frankly don’t think I could handle damage control on any more quality time between our kids than what we’re already doing.” That wouldn’t go over so well. So I’m hearing, “You hate us! You never want to come for a visit! It’s MONTHS between when we see you! You come up and only visit us one time while you’re in town!” I hate family politics- I’m not good at them. I don’t know what to say.

    • Trisch says:

      MamaMirage, that is a tough situation! I didn’t have it as much with family as with close friends. Most of my friends at the time were trying to train their children, too. But there were those few….

      And I don’t like it when people put a guilt trip on *me* (You hate us!) At this stage in my life, I would probably say, “Now WHERE did that come from?!” I tell my children stuff like that comes from the enemy! *bleh!*

      Perhaps you can explain it without making it seem like it’s their little darlings’ fault. “Oh, you know, whenever I get together too often with families with small children, it seems my children just act up so much! We find it better to limit their socializing for their good. After all, I would hate it if their bad attitudes starting rubbing off on your children!”

      Or something like that! ;)

      You are not lying. Being around other small children, even in the most Godly of families, as I said in my post, will corrupt our children! And ours will corrupt them! LOL!

      AND you wouldn’t want your siblings/cousins to have to deal with any worse behavior (whether they would or not is not the question!).

      Sometimes you have to gently say something, but often the Lord gives some creative alternatives! One of our worst problems was my husband’s parents who wanted to keep the kids overnight a lot. But they also wanted to feed them candy, coffee (!), and lots of unsupervised tv. We knew it would be a major FIGHT if we asked those things didn’t go on, so it was easier to say “no” to staying the night. I let my husband handle what to say. Our general rule was whosever side it was talked to their parents. Although if it was an issue of undermining our authority, it didn’t matter whose side it was–hubby did the dirty work! He actually only had to say something once to one of my grandmas who felt I shouldn’t be disciplining my “little darling” at her home. He did it graciously and Grandma wasn’t traumatized as I recall! :)

      I hope that helps a little. DO bathe it in prayer. But don’t take things like that too personally. As Pope John XXIII said, “Be joyful, seek the best, and let the sparrows chirp!” :D


  4. Hannah Y says:

    Wonderful, wonderful post. My children are only 4, 3 & 14 months at this point and this is one of my goals. But I have a very good friend who is a couple years ahead of me. Her oldest is 12 and this is something she is constantly talking about and pursuing for her children. She does not have internet at this point, so I was wondering if I may print your post out to give to her. It would be a real encouragement I believe. Because so may people do NOT understand this.

    • Trisch says:

      Hannah, that would be fine! I know many people want Godly friends for their children, but my conviction is we first need to find our all in all in God, then in our family. Then we will be a good friend, an “energy-giver” vs. an “energy-taker” or even an “energy-drainer”! Too many times we expect from friendships (and marriages! ;) ) what only God can give us!

      I’m going to address our friendships as mamas tomorrow! :)

      Blessings to you!


Leave a Reply