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The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 2 of 3 (Guarding vs. Entrusting Your Children’s Hearts)

Posted by Lisa

As discussed in Part 1, we deal with difficult people all throughout life. Ideally, our young ones would have only relationships full of love, respect and kindness. Though we do seek out those positive influences, we all have disagreeable family members, neighbors, church friends, and kids at the grocery store our children also interact with at various levels.

We guard our children’s hearts from worldliness, bad attitudes & behaviors, the herd mentality, defensiveness in relationships and resistance to correction (this is the short list). This doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with this on their own. Our little darlings are plenty selfish and sinful. However, I don’t want to willfully put my children, for extensive lengths of time, in the company of others who are oblivious to this type of training.

I want to make it very clear at this point, that I’m not someone who feels she must protect her children from undisciplined, impolite, selfish, spoiled children. Quite the opposite is true. They need to experience all types of people. However, who we closely associate with, spend much time with, and entrust their hearts to are those individuals who breathe life into their little hearts and minds.

Yes, my children have friends who point them to Jesus, who are honest, sensitive, respectful, loving, wholesome, humble and fun. No, these children, like mine, are not without their faults – and sometimes big ones.

My children are, at the moment, 7, 8 & 13. There are children they play with on a daily basis who they don’t consider close friends, and some they do consider close friends. They know that when a friend has to one-up you, lie, deceive, tell secrets and laugh at you, act like their your best friend when it’s just the two of you but exclude you when others are around, etc. that person is not a true, close friend.

However, our kids have friends who live at least a 30 minute drive away and they only see them a couple times a month at best. They are truly close, dear friends our children have learned they can entrust their hearts to. These friends include one another, purpose to not leave anyone out, are giving and loving, sincerely get excited for one another when someone succeeds, etc.

Because we started early in defining what a good friend is (even among siblings), our children can easily identify and tell me why someone is or isn’t a good friend. In turn, they know when they are or are not being good friends themselves.

Life is not picture perfect at our house. This is a relationship skill that is always a work in progress (for mom and dad as well). We are such selfish, pathetic people when left to ourselves, and we always need to be aware of that fact. This is all part of fighting the good fight. Our children need us to pave the way and live a life of example (ouch).

Stay tuned for Part 3 – A Mother’s Response to Her Children’s Difficult Relationships

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