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Walk with the Wise

Walk with the Wise

She’s my friend,” my daughter said with a nod.She doesn’t cheat.”

 

My head shot up.

 

“And some of your friends do?” I asked, thinking at least my six-year-old was on the right side of that conversation.

 

“Sometimes,” she said. Then she ran out of the room. A pinkballerina streak, while I stayed sitting on an unmade bed ticking through a list of her first grade friends trying to pair them up with cheating. It didn’t help. They all seemed so sweet.

 

Friends are important at every age. Helping our children choose them wisely has lasting effects.

 

The Apostle Paul instructed the church in Corinth, about the sway the company we keep has on our lives.

 

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33 (ESV)

 

The church, struggling with all sorts of worldly infiltration likely had its share of bad influences filter through. Paul, taking them to task on false ideas about Christ’s resurrection reminded them how important were those associations with others. He impliedthat the corrupt moral issues within the church had been swayed by the company its members kept.

 

The world we live in affects us greatly. We often aren’t even aware of how the people with whom we associate reflects inhow we think and act. Little minds and hearts are even more sensitive. Lasting consequences result.

 

Proverbs shows the value of selecting our friends carefully.

 

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)

 

Let the Bible be your guide. Scripture has much to say about friendships and guidelines for godly living. Parents can’t completely isolate children from bad influences, but we can certainly have a big hand in quality control. We can invest time and energy learning to know who they hang out with, engaging in their friendships and paying attention to the people they do.

 

Give clear boundaries. You’ve probably experienced it, and likely know the look. A guest of your child does something you don’t allow, like saying a bad word or climbing on the coffee table. Your child’s glance goes straight to you. Help them learn to examine whether behavior is good or bad, appropriate or not. Train them to recognize susceptibility to peer pressure and give them tools so they know how to stand strong against following wrong actions of others.

 

Provide opportunities to socialize with good playmates.Encourage good friendships. Little children mimic older children’s friends. As your children get older, the stakes get higher. If being a part of their interactions with others is normal when they are little it will be much more natural as they get older.

 

Pray for your children’s friends. After mealtime, we often prayed together for our children’s requests and for their friends. We petitioned for big things like knowing Jesus to little things like getting over the flu. We loved our children’s friends dearly.We still pray for many of them.

 

Build on the message: “I want to get to know your friends, because I love you.”

 

When my children were little, one of the best pieces of advice I got from an older mother was to open my home. Not only did I get to know my children’s friends, it allowed me to pour love into them too. Sure, it created another set of issues, challenging boundaries and sacrifices. Honestly, I didn’t always love the extra mess, feeding picky eaters, or the outrageous noise, but I look back grateful for those opportunities.

 

When my son married, I knew most of his groomsmen well. One came from grade school years in Italy, another from high school in Germany, and others from college. All had been in our home through different stages of my son’s life. I appreciated his wise choices and loved each of them. They contributed to make the boy become the man at the altar.

 

After the wedding, I felt an ending of an era. As I hugged one of the groomsmen before parting, I told him, “I feel like you are all my boys.

 

A smidgeon of sadness accompanied my words.

 

“Mrs. Schroeder,” he responded, towering above me. You couldn’t have given me a greater compliment.”

 

The messes of the past had been well worth it.

 

Our children go from tiny to adult in a breath of time, but in that time a plethora of friends flow in and out of their seasons. The Apostle Paul’s admonition about the company we keep rings true today as it did when he wrote it. Good friends help us walk wisely.

 

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves in Women’s Care at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter. 

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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