One of the lessons I want our children to learn is how to choose wise friends. This is not something I believe is a “neutral” foundation. If I wait until my children are junior high or high school to start teaching them about choosing friends, it will be a much more difficult lesson to learn.
So right now, without the Holy Spirit in their lives to give them true biblical discernment, my goal is to teach them what qualities are important in a friend. So anytime we get together with other children, we talk about the visit afterwards. Sometimes I’ll ask, Are they kind to their brothers and sisters? or Do they obey their mommy? One of the questions I ask is, Do they love God? Now, I realize that David has no way of knowing the answer to this question, particularly because a number of children who come over are unregenerate, like he is.
The point is, to teach him what is important in a friendship. And when I ask him the question, I’m showing him that I value the relationship with God as an important part of friendship. Yesterday, when I asked that question, David’s reply was, Yes, mom. They go to our church.
Guess it’s time for Part 2 of that lesson!
I agree that discernment in friendship is very important. Your questions gave me ideas for when I face this issue. Do you think we should teach there is a difference in being friendly (kind) to all the children and having good friends when children are very young?
I don’t know, Maya! Maybe some other ladies want to weigh in.
I guess for the moment I’ve focussed on the positive. Proverbs 13:20 applies to children, too, so I’ve avoided trying to spend a lot of time with children I’m not comfortable with. At the same time, I talk a LOT about the children who are good friends to have.