Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Power of Friendship

When you think of things you hope for you kids during childhood at least one of them is probably good friends.  Friends can lift us up when we're feeling blue, they can entertain us when we're bored or alone, and they can challenge us to be gracious, charitable, and forgiving.  Just as this is all true, the wrong kind of friends can do just the opposite.  It's no wonder we've kept a close eye on our kids' friendships almost to the point of keep them from becoming too close to certain kids. 

Of course we've moved a few times which doesn't help the cause. The girls have a few close childhood friends back in Chicago and James has at least one friend he reconnected with last time we visited. As for local friendships, that's been a little tougher.  Well, maybe not for Katherine. She's my out-going personable fun-loving girl.  Kat makes friends wherever she goes and has a few nice girls she can hang out with that live close by. Emily has also connected with at least one other girl, and I'm so thankful because that has been a blessing.  James on the other hand has been a bit of a loner.  Although he attended public school for 6th grade, no real friendships developed out of that experience. As a matter of fact, after meeting some of the kids and hearing stories he's shared with me, I'm really glad he had the good sense not to become close with anyone from there. 

We thought getting him plugged into youth group at church would really help expose him to some quality guys, but that presented challenges too because even though the kids were nice they seem to have very different interests than James.  We've tried getting together with other homeschoolers as well, but that hasn't worked because they either live far away or the contact has been sporadic.  In addition to this, there is one factor we didn't consider... chemistry.  Having common interests and being of the same age is not enough to form a good friendship.  Simply put, they must like each other.  The quality that attracts one person to another whether it's in friendship or in a spouse is virtually undefinable.  Why do we prefer some people over others? I don't know, we just do.

Not too long ago our church hired a new children's pastor. The family has six kids, with four of them still at home.  They live very close by and they are homeschoolers. Their kids are slightly different ages from our kids, but they are very close.  Our family values line up and we genuinely like their kids.  And perhaps for the first time ever... there is chemistry with all three of our kids.

Last night all four of their kids came over to spend the night.  Normally having extra kids around would increase my stress level, but this time it was easier than if I had been alone with only my three.  They danced, swam, played Minecraft, painted pictures, played tag, and watched a Rated G movie. They laughed, told stories, and played harmless pranks.  Most importantly, they all got along and they all prayed together in the evening.  These are the kind of kids I want my kids to hang out with.  These are the kinds of friendships we've been praying for.  It does this mama's heart good to hear the laughter and see the smiles. I hope this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship for all the kids.



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