I have written before about how to help our children choose good friends according to the Word of God. I think that message is very important, but what is just as important and often overlooked, is what the Bible has to say about being a good friend. Friends are a crucial part of our lives. Having and being a good friend strengthen our lives and our walk with God. These are a few ways your children can be good friends and have positive influences on their friends’ lives:
1. Be there for your friend. We all go through rough patches that only a true friend could make better. The Bible talks about being there for a friend in times of trouble. Being available, whether by phone or in person, and listening to them when they are distressed can be so comforting to them and lets them know that you can be trusted. It strengthens the bond of that relationship in a time that can tear many apart.
2. Tell the truth. We often want to spare our friends’ feelings, but sugarcoating a situation does nothing to help them in the long run. We should be honest with one another because it is the only way to grow and better ourselves. Of course, that does not give anyone the right to be mean or harsh. I once heard someone say “honesty without tact is abuse,” and that is so true. As a friend, your goal should never be to hurt someone’s feelings, but to help your friend progress in whatever aspect needs improvement. Give constructive comments rather than hurtful criticisms - the message will be received much easier.
3. Spend time together. Between school, soccer practice, and chess club, our children can be very busy. Yes, school and extracurricular activities are important, but just as important is spending time with their friends and truly enjoying their friends’ company. Children have so much energy that they are bound to find activities to do during their time together.
Also, they should never be afraid of silence. Friends sitting in comfortable silence is an indication of the comfort between them. Being in that moment together can feel just as fulfilling as a day’s worth of exciting activities.