Friends are one of the most important things in our lives. It has been said that we are the average of our five closest friendships. When you hear an axiom like that, doesn’t it make you wonder if you have invested in the right relationships? And doesn’t it make you wonder what friendships your children are developing? Proverbs 18:24 puts it this way: “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend stick closer than a brother.”
There are a lot of qualities to look for in friendships and we may, consciously or unconsciously, choose to surround ourselves with those specific qualities. For example, we may value loyalty or trustworthiness so we may go out of our way to be around people who are loyal and trustworthy. It is important to realize the influence friendships have on our lives, especially our children.
This is why for the month of August we are covering content on healthy friendships in cfStudents. We started this week by taking a look at what kind of friend we are to others. Teenagers and preteens are only somewhat self-aware and while they may be aware others exist in the world they are still learning to put into practice how to consider others and serve them. We all should practice being the kind of friend we would want to have. If you want friends who are loyal, then be a loyal friend. If you want friends who don’t talk about you behind your back, then be someone who doesn’t talk about others behind their backs. Makes sense, right?
Now, this making sense and actually putting it into practice are two different things, but that is exactly what we must do…practice being a good friend. That is why our bottom line message this week for our young people is “Being a friend means serving your friends.” After all the Jesus encourages us to “Do to others as you would like them to do to you (Luke 6:31 NLT). AND He models for us in action what that might look like:
So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him (John 13:4-5 NLT).
You are creative and smart , so I don’t have to point out how we might put that example into today’s terms. The point is being a friend means serving your friends.
Now to finish up this post, (and we will talk more about friendships next week) I want to list some things you DON’T SAY to your kids or your friends as you discuss having healthy friendships:
“Don’t be friends with___________ . They’re not a good influence.”
“You’re going to college soon so your current friendships don’t really matter.”
“Things are so different now than they were when I was growing up. I’m so glad I’m not a teenager.”
“I’ve heard bad things about . Maybe you should think twice before hanging out with them.”
“How many times have I told you that is not a good friend?”
“You shouldn’t be friends with someone who doesn’t believe the same things you do."
I will list our some things that would be good to converse about with your kids, friends and family members next week or you can access the Healthy Conversations on Friendships guides in the cfParis App. That’s it for now, and by the way, if your 6th through 12th grader is not connected to cfStudents yet, we’d love to have them. Tell them to come try it out for a month to see if it is beneficial to their lives. I believe they will find it refreshing and life giving!