May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Our children’s earliest friends were their cousins. They would play ball, swim, watch videos, and tell each other stories. Their circle of friends began to grow as their boundaries increased in church and the neighborhood. Occasionally we will still laugh about a friend of theirs, (a good kid) but full of restless energy. One night we said, “Collin don’t run!” We heard him run, full bore, into a pine tree. “I’m okay!” He hollered. We remember football games with neighborhood boys and weeks of camp friends. Other times I remember them playing on the beach with their cousins or sitting with friends in church. I’m grateful for the parents who loved and prayed with our children’s friends.
Created in the image of God, as a child expands beyond family, it is healthy for them to will seek friendship. It is an aspect of the image of God within us. Parents can help tremendously by teaching them the Biblical virtues of friendship. Among them are love, serving, trust, honesty, loyalty and kindness.
When a child is encouraged he will become encouraging. When I hear children and teens at Woodland cheering each other on inside my little boy jumps up down with joy. Hearing them say, “Great job” to one another, “Well done” “that was brilliant.” It is no wonder that others are attracted to them.
Sometimes I hear about how they loving confront one another about doing their best, or pressing on in faith, encouraging someone not to compromise. I know their love for one another is increasing.
Of course the best way for a parent to teach their children these virtues is to be a brilliant example of those same virtues. A loving mom and dad who rise up cheerfully and purposefully each day to love as Christ has loved. These parents dramatically increase the potential of their children to become passionate followers of Christ.
Children need to be taught how to choose friends that share their faith and how to befriend those children who do not share their faith. Godly children learn how to confide and trust one another over time. Of course we want our children to wisely be friendly to children outside the faith. In so doing they will love and potentially lead that child to experience the life changing grace of Jesus Christ.
Do your children see you reading the Bible and on your knees in prayer?
Do you have a brief family prayer time together?
What virtues are you teaching your children? Do you model them?