Wouldn’t you love to be able to see how your kids turn out down the road? If you could fast forward five or even ten years just to see how they’re doing, wouldn’t you want at least a peek?

Well, maybe you can. Think about this statement as it applies to your kids:

Your friends are a preview of the future you.

When I heard my friend Jeff Henderson first talk about that, it just resonated. I think he’s right. We become like the people we associate with the most, don’t we?

Look at your own relational circle. Chances are that you hang with people who are quite a bit like you.

If that’s true of you, it’s also true of your kids. Look at their closest friends–that’s who they are in the process of becoming.

I realize this might be mixed news. This might help some of us sleep better at night; it might also mean some of us don’t sleep for months. But the power of a sneak peek into the future is that it offers the chance for some mid-course correction.

One of the benefits of looking at the lives of your kids’ friends is that you can probably see where they are headed more objectively than you can see the direction in which your child or teen is moving. I always do a better job seeing the issues in someone else’s life than I do my own.

So this week, why not take a few minutes to look at the main peer influences in your child’s life? Don’t be too critical. Don’t be paranoid. Just be honest. And if you need some objectivity, pull a friend or family member into the conversation. They may see things you can’t clearly see.

Later this week, we’ll talk about what we can do to help influence that peer group while still allowing your child the freedom to choose their friends.

In the meantime, what do you think? Is this a good question to ask? What other signs help you see where your child might be heading?