Most of us like to be liked. At least I do.

And all of us start the parenting journey with this dream that we are going to have the best relationship ever with our kids. I have run into more than a few parents over the years who talk about being being best friends with their children.

On the one hand, that’s awesome. Perhaps their skills in parenting far exceed any I have. But I know I have moments and indeed entire seasons where the role I play as a dad doesn’t feel like I am my kids’ best friend.

And maybe that’s appropriate. Jeff Brodie, the student pastor at the church I lead, says he’s never found a 15 year old who is looking for a 45 year old best friend. What I might want and what my kids need  are two different things.

Parenting has called on me to

Say what’s unpopular.

Challenge habits and tendencies.

Correct and rebuke.

Choose what they need over what they want.

Risk whole seasons of unpopularity.

Love and popularity do not always go hand in hand.

Ironically – and you know this – true friends do correct and rebuke, place what we need over what we want, and are willing to say what’s unpopular.  It just doesn’t feel like friendship or love at the time.  In the moment, it feels like the roof is collapsing on the relationship, when in fact we are trying to advance it.

I wonder if that’s a tension every parent needs to embrace.

What do you think about being best friends?  How is the role of a parent different from the role of a friend?