Proverbs 13:20 (KJV) “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
We are no exception to the struggle most parents have about friendships for their children, and sometimes even for themselves.
I remember several years when I didn’t feel like I had a true friend other than my husband. All our children were young and it was difficult to get together with other women. I had a lot of acquaintances, but no one I could confide in or go to when I was struggling.
Over a period of time I realized that I was going to the Lord more and more because I had no one else to go to. As I continued to walk in this seemingly friendless time I saw that I had been getting others’ opinions and ideas before going to the Lord or my husband and felt that this was the Lord’s way of getting my attention and redirecting me in the way He wanted me to go. I found myself becoming increasingly content to run to the Lord first, and as my heart changed the Lord began to bring me some true friends. It was a precious time and is still a precious memory.
Since that time I’ve had other times when friends with similar values seemed few and far between, but once again something amazing started to happen. I found myself spending more and more time with my daughters and my son. They were growing up. They were becoming adults and we were relating on many different levels – including as friends.
As I watch our daughters animatedly talking together I wonder how they can have so much to talk about when they spend so much time together. Then I notice that every half hour or so their brother their passes my desk on his way to their room. Usually there are louder sounds of animated talking when he is in the room, but once again I marvel at their multi-faceted relationships. Sooner or later I often find myself going down to find out what they are doing that is so much fun.
As homeschool moms we have all been told this will happen – our homeschooled children will be great friends eventually, in spite of our multitude of mistakes, and we will grow in our relationships with them from those challenging parenting years, to mentors, and finally to friends and mentors.
Well I’m here to tell you it can and does happen. There are often many snags along the way, some more difficult than others, but with prayer and persistence real friendships can develop between you and your adult children. We have seen that it often happens at the expense of fewer outside of the family friends, but since Dan and I don’t have very good relationships with our siblings it was very important to us that our children have better ones than we have had and we worked toward that goal.
Here are some things we’ve done in our family that we think have helped cement our relationships:
-Make family time a priority – not to the exclusion of what the Lord calls you to do as individuals, but prayerfully choose activities that you can do together as a family and with other families, such as a home group with families who have children, or ministering at nursing homes.
-Family meals as often as possible – even secular sources are saying how important this is today.
-Don’t be afraid to be a little silly once in a while – while silly isn’t always good, goofing around can be the glue in your relationships. One morning when the children were much younger we gathered together for our morning Bible study and prayer time I had an orange peel in my mouth so that when I smiled at them they saw that instead of my teeth. I have no idea what else we did that day, but we all remember laughing and laughing about that smile and everyone had to try it too – no, not with the same piece of orange peel!
-Make memories together
-Have family traditions – When we started our family Dan and I had a dream of a cabin we could go to every year. We often talked and prayed about our desire. Being a woman of action I drug him off to some terrible places, including one that had fleas in one of the bedrooms, and one where the cabin was so far from the lake shore you almost had to drive there, but eventually the Lord provided above and beyond what we had asked for. It is owned by Christians, near both of our extended family members, very private, good pan fishing from the dock, and rental included an old pontoon boat that even our small children could fish from.
Our first stay was when our youngest, Eric, was just 3 months old, and we’ve been there at least once a year since then – he’s now 21. When had leukemia we often went there twice a year. We joke that we have so many family traditions there that we can no longer do them in one trip so we have to choose which ones to do.
What do you do to cultivate Proverbs 13 friendships? What do you plan to start doing?
Finding Joy in the Journey,
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