Nothing has the potential to affect the course of your kid’s life quite the same way that their friendships do.
Self-help guru Jim Rohn puts it this way: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
And you may be thinking . . .
Who, Timmy? My Timmy is a leader. Timmy would never let a friend negatively influence his choices!
Crap. I’m pretty sure Julia’s best friend chopped off her little sister’s ponytail last week.
Miles’ best friends are Elmo and the grocery store check-out lady who gives him free stickers.
But, it’s true. It’s true for us, and it’s true for our kids. The people we choose to lean into during good and bad times shape us in big and small ways, whether we are aware of it or not.
So, how do we help our kids pick and keep friends who will raise the average of their circle? In other words, how do we help our kids choose friends who are forgiving, kind, humble, gentle, and patient?
It’s actually not as challenging as it sounds. It’s simple, really. Here’s the secret to helping your kids find good friends . . . ready? . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . .
Teach your kid to be the friend they want to find.
See, typically, when we think about friendship, we start off by thinking of all the things we want to find in a great friend. And we spend a lot less time thinking about what we offer to friendships.
Check out what the Bible says:
“You are God’s chosen people. You are holy and dearly loved. So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don’t be proud. Be gentle and patient,” Colossians 3:12, NIRV.
If we want to be the friend we want to find, we need to put on “tender mercy and kindness” as if they were our clothes.
LIKE A HAT … A KIND HAT?
Actually, sort of.
We should treat others so well that it’s almost as if we were wearing our kindness, patience, and love. And that doesn’t just mean we’re nice to the people we want to be nice to. God wants us to treat everyone this way.
And when we do, our relationships – especially our friendships – are just better.
So. You want your kid to be surrounded by above-average friend? Then teach them the importance of . . .
Forgiving others (tender mercy).
Thinking about others’ feelings (kindness).
Putting others before ourselves (do not be proud).
Keeping our tempers under control (gentle).
Waiting without complaining (patience).
If you want your kid to be a good friend, teach them to be the friend they want to find.