My kids are at that precious stage where they are beginning to be choosy as to whom they hang around and befriend so the other day we sat down and went through some things to look for in a friend.
I never had any problems making friends when I was growing up. We’d move to a new neighbourhood and I’d be out there finding new friends. Riding my bike right up to their house while they were playing with other kids and say, “Hi my name is Shannon, I just moved in.” I was never shy to say the least. One time, La and I hung out in our backyard sitting on the fence – staring into our neighbours yard until they noticed us. They had a pool. I was 10 and La would have been around 8. It worked – we were swimming in no time. I never waited for people to befriend me – I am not one for waiting…
So anyway back to why I started this post… I’ve been teaching my kids how to be friends with others and what to look for in a friend. It is important whom they hang around with; it will have an effect on their lives and decisions – affecting their future.
The first lesson we covered was how to make new friends (below is the adult version of what I went through with my kids):
#1 ~ Be friendly.
It seems simple enough but you would be surprised how many people miss the mark on this one. It is easy to get consumed by your day-to-day life, to get focused on something that you miss the opportunity for a new friendship, they pass you by. Remember the good ‘ole days when people didn’t walk down the street looking at their feet? They smiled at one another and said, “Hello” as they passed you by?? This kind of life isn’t just relegated to reruns of “Little House on the Prairie” either ~ it should be in our life here and now ~ no matter how big or “unfriendly” our city is.
#2 ~ Focus on others.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who monopolized your time together talking about their bad day (which seemed to be almost every day), their bad spouse, and their bad job? It doesn’t even have to be negative (which is draining) but it’s all about them. Don’t be this kind of friend to others. Make an effort to find out what they like and focus on the things you have in common. If you don’t… do not be surprised if they start avoiding you all together.
#3 ~ Do kind things without looking for credit.
This is the simple principle of sowing and reaping. It works in relationships too. If you do something nice for someone ~ don’t shout about it from the rooftops (“look at me and what I did”), you might not get the recognition for it and you will leave yourself open to offence. Do things for others with a humble and pure heart and God will see that you are rewarded (but this should never ever be our motivation).
I’ll leave you with this Scripture from Proverbs 27:9, “Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”
I want to be a friend who refreshes the soul of those around me! I want this for my kids too.
This “friend” thing with the kids is a constant issue around here too. It’s so much drama and hurt. I don’t remember having all these problems with my friends like my kids do now. I think the issue is that they just don’t know how to be good friends to eachother. Just like anything else, we have to INSTRUCT these kids HOW to be a good friend first AND to be discerning and pick friends wisely. It’s tough!
Believe it or not, when new people moved into our neighbourhood, as a chil, I was the first one at their door asking if they had any kids!! These are great points. I think it is important for my kids to learn this stuff too.
Kind of all fits under the adage…do to others as you would want others do to you…be a friend and you’ll have friends