Gathering at the Well...with friends

Gathering At the Well

Friendship in Your Family


The discussion questions are:

What is your definition of friendship?
Did you follow the belief that we should not be friends with our children?
Has that changed?
In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children?
What can we do to teach those skills to someone else?


Boy! This was a "tough" subject at our house two years ago, when Andrew was in 5th grade!

I guess my "definition" of friendship would be a relationship with two people who care for one another, love one another, give grace to each other, forgiving and overlooking each other's faults. I know I could ask my friends for help any time and they would sacrifice to help me.

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." Colossians 3:12-15

I, of course, have very close friends and casual friends, or "acquaintances"- people I may chat with but not CONFIDE in...

I guess, pondering what I have just said, I would have to say that my best friends ARE my family members....Brian IS my best friend. He knows me completely. I can share everything with him.

And, we like to spend time together as a family. We like to play together, watch movies together, have fun together. We joke and laugh. I would do anything for my kids and husband- sacrifice anything to help them. My family can confide in me and I can trust them not share our "secrets." This happened recently when Andrew confided in me a problem he was having with his friend. It was everything I could do to NOT call this boy's mom and let her know what was going on! But, if I did, I would lose Andrew's trust, something I wasn't willing to do! We continued to pray about it together. God gave Andrew wisdom and the boys eventually worked it out.

With Brian, my husband, it is "easy" to have this friendship relationship. We are companions, confidants, best friends...

But, with our children, it is a little "stickier".

It's tough because we love our kids, enjoy playing with them, and we have lots of fun together. We are playful together, tickling, wrestling, laughing.... We play games together and enjoy spending time with one another.

But...

We are MORE than our kids' "FRIEND."

This is what we struggled explaining to Andrew two years ago. He would get angry when we told him, "We're not your 'friend,' but your 'parent', Andrew." I think he heard it as "We're not friends. We don't like you." And, when he was little, we always called him "Little Buddy." We didn't want him to blur the lines of respect. At this crucial age, he was exploring the boundaries of authority. We wanted him to know we loved him MORE than a friend. We cared about the man he would grow up to be. We wanted him to know that our relationship was about MORE than just having fun. We were/are his teachers as well. We wanted him to understand the responsibility God had/has given us to "train up a child"- him.

We wanted him to understand that sometimes we would have to say "no" when it seems like "all the other parents" were saying "yes." We wanted him to understand that we weren't just thinking of today, but thinking of his future as well.

We wanted him to understand respect for authority and submission. We knew in order for him to understand this submission to an "invisible" God, he had to understand submission to visible parents. I found it difficult to live this out at times and had to really pray Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instructions of the Lord." I did not want to exasperate Andrew as I was trying to teach him!

He must manage his own family well and see that this children obey him with proper respect. 1Timothy 3:4

Boy, that year was tough as Andrew was growing and maturing. We worked through it and he understands the boundaries of respect. We ARE friends, but we are so much more.

Father God, help us live out this life with our families. Give us wisdom in teaching our children. Thank You for giving us grace when we make mistakes. Remind us to extend that same grace to our loved ones. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

Please visit the Well today to gather more insight on friendships and family!

9 thoughts shared....:

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing such wisdom.

Beth in NC said...

What a sweet post. I pray God will give me wisdom as my daughter grows.

Love,
Beth

Yolanda said...

This statement just leapt off your writing today into my heart and mind:

We knew in order for him to understand this submission to an "invisible" God, he had to understand submission to visible parents.



Praising Him,
Yolanda

Sherry said...

Your family friendship definitely sounds wonderful. Mine needs some work. There definitely is a line that needs to be defined for our children between parent/friend. We want them to be able to share, so we will know how to help them focus on godly things or give them insight.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Have a blessed Monday!
Sherry

Patty Wysong said...

There's such a balancing act with children. '...so much more than just friends...' is a great way to put it!

Laurie Ann said...

There is a truly fine line in being parents and friends. I praise God that we have His Word to guide us in how to do both. Awesome post, Tracy. I loved the real life application here.

Rebecca said...

"We ARE friends, but we are so much more." A friend and a parent IS so much more than most kids have. Amen to the prayer at the end.

LAURIE said...

Amen, I also took the same angle on my post that we are parents with a high calling and sometimes saying "no" will make us not so popular with our kids especially in the younger years. But I believe the godly principle of "friends" will shine thru us as we shower them with love, respect and honesty. -blessings, Laurie

Amy Bayliss said...

Your thoughts always impress my spirit. I heard this so loud and clear, "I think he heard it as 'We're not friends. We don't like you.'" I can remember my children thinking the same things. I only wish God had shown me then what He is showing me now.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my friend!