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Posts Tagged ‘friendships’

Fabulous Family Friday–What About Friends?

Friday, June 25th, 2010



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!