Wisdom in Winter – Day 3 – Friendship
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Oh, the beauty and complexity of friendships! Where can we sign up for a course that teaches us how to handle the ups and downs of real life with those around us? From infant school ‘best friend’ status shifts, to junior school group dynamics, to senior school peer pressure, it’s difficult to keep up!
I still remember the incredibly fractious phone call I once had from a parent who was extremely disappointed that her daughter had not been included in a musical ensemble my daughter was creating for a year five assembly. It was my understanding that her daughter had declared that she would never ever join it. As I tried to calm the situation down, I did my best to remember how important it is to model being kind to one another.
We have massive influence in our children’s lives and they are always watching us and learning how to handle difficult situations. What an opportunity I had to show grace and patience in the middle of a tense phone call!
This reminds me of a scripture:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Friendships are not always easy. Not every friendship lasts forever, and they often change over time. Some friendships will be closer than others. Even Jesus, who loved all people, chose a group of friends who walked more closely with him than others did. That shows wisdom, and is often necessary when our time is limited. We can’t be best friends with everyone, but we can show love and respect to all.
Great friendships are one of life’s blessings, aren’t they? I certainly don’t know where I would be without my tribe of friends who celebrate and commiserate with me depending on the circumstances. What would life be like without those who are as faithful and close as a brother or a sister?
One of the joys and challenges of parenting is helping our children to establish those friendships that will build up, strengthen and encourage them. We can help them to talk about their friendships, learn how to be a kind, caring and reliable friend and to say sorry when necessary.
We know it’s not always easy, and dealing with conflict or rejection can be hard, but these early friendships are so important. It’s where children learn crucial relationship skills for later life. Let’s pray for our children’s relationships, and help them to invest in those good godly friendships that will help our children to love and be loved.
- Think of your closest friends. Why do you appreciate them so much? Have you told them recently?
- How do you help your children to develop healthy friendships? If they have issues with their friends, how do you help them to find good strategies for resolving these issues (that are appropriate for their age)?
- Consider the strength of the peer group. How can you help your children to invest now in friendships that will encourage their faith as they get older? How can you also invest in friendships that encourage your faith?
Cathy’s top tip
Speak words of life into your friendships, sow seeds of encouragement and show honour where honour is due. Grab a coffee, go for a walk or share a meal together – quality time brings fruit that lasts a lifetime.
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