Abundant Frugal Life

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The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 1 of 3 (Intro)

Posted by Lisa

We have chosen to homeschool our children for character and discipleship reasons, both of which play out in relationships. In one sense, all of life is about relationships.

God blesses us with fun, easy friendships with people who prod us to consider how we act and what we think. They challenge us to be like Christ. There are also difficult people God brings into our lives for various reasons. We and our children will interact with them all our lives. They too are to mold us to the character of Christ. We need to teach our children how to deal with both kinds of people.

It isn’t a chore to deal with friends. It’s pure pleasure. It is, however, quite a challenge to deal with difficult people. In this post I’ll talk about those easy relationships.

My children, to this day, have no idea that their father and I have hand picked their close friends for them. They don’t see it as unusual or suspect that their best friends are children of my best friends. They don’t see that since I’m the one who has to spend energy and time helping them develop those friendships (driving time, getting to know the parents, hosting little people and little people parties) that I’m the one who makes the decisions suggestions of who should come over. They’re just excited to have any friend over.

Let me qualify that last sentence for those of you who don’t homeschool and think – oh those poor children are stuck at home with no friends. Ha! Truth be told I’m the one stuck at home with no friends :) They have more of a social life than I could dream of (don’t get me started on the lack of socialization for homeschooled kids). I wish they had less and I had more.

Back to the subject. We are our children’s God given authorities and we are to protect and provide for them. Friendships, and all relationships, are not the exception. We believe our children need a healthy dose of great relationships of all kinds. They also need the difficult relationships in small, bite size time allotments. We, as parents, need to closely watch and guide their little hearts, minds and mouths as they learn patience, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, and selflessness in general. We need to let their little hearts break and tears fall while we are there to hold them, comfort them, guide them and wipe their tears. How will they mature in their faith and in relationships if we never let them experience the pain of those difficult people in our lives?

Yes, they’re young and their pains seem so little compared to what older people dole out to one another, but their pain is real. The sooner you teach them how to deal properly with difficult people and situations, the fewer relational bad habits you’ll have to break when they’re older. Help them establish good relationship skills while they’re so very young. It will pay off richly and serve them in their older years.

I’m no relationship guru, I’m just sharing with you what I’ve learned along the way – and I’m still learning!

Part 2: Guarding vs. Entrusting Your Children’s Hearts

Part 3: A Mother’s Response to Her Chidlren’s Difficult Relationships

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