Do you ever discuss with your child what friends they have on social media and why the child befriended them in the first place?
Do you have the conversation about how to choose an appropriate friend?
If not the consequences can have serious repercussions.
As Year 12 finish up their academic life at school, they will have made many friends at school, on social media and in other areas of life. People are drawn together through common interests, history and common values. These friendships start to shift as they step out into adulthood and continue to make new friends along their life journey. So as parents it is important to not only be role models, but also to guide children from an early age on what friendship characteristics they should look for and what they themselves should display.
So what draws people together as friends?
One dictionary states the definition of a friend as:
God’s Take on Friendship
The Bible also provides a glimpse into what a friend should be like.
In Proverbs 17:17 it states…
‘A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity‘(NRSV)
Let’s unpack this a little…
Some people claim to have lots and lots of friends. Yet we wonder if true friendship is, of necessity, limited to a few. We may be confusing acquaintances with friends, or those with whom we are friendly as friends. Real friends may well be much more rare than we think.
We could say there are three qualities of a true friend. One is that they confirm us. They affirm our uniqueness, they support us when we doubt ourselves or are tempted to give up on life. They are loyal to us.
Another quality is that they confront us. A real friend will not hesitate to speak an uncomfortable word of warning or rebuke. They will challenge us when we are embarking on a wrong path. Yet they will do it without condemnation: they will urge us to embrace our God-given better self and take the better path.
And then they will celebrate with us. They will rejoice when we rejoice. They will give thanks for us. A friendship purely based on mutual problems is a sadly limited relationship. All we might end up doing in such cases is making each other more miserable.
May we be blessed with at least a few human friendships where these are present. May we also recognise that in our relationship with God we experience confirmation, confrontation, and celebration. We were made to be part of the human community, to travel together rather than solo. Good friends are those who help us travel in the right way to the right destination.
The Value of Mates at WCCS
At William Carey we have many opportunities for students to serve and make a difference in others’ lives. One such program the school offers is the MATES Program. This program links high school students with primary students who meet together once or twice a week at lunchtime. The students spend time playing games, completing crafts or just talking. This builds a friendship and allows the primary student to gain confidence.
These positive memories stay with the primary student. One example of this is a high school student receiving a thank you card two years after they left school from their Primary mate and family. The card read that the Primary student really appreciated the time they spent together. The student still has a photo of them together beside their bed.
The parent explained on the card what a positive role model the high school student was to their child, showing compassion, friendship and the primary mate valued the time spent together.
If you would like to read more on the topic of teens and friendship visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/teens/teens-and-their-friends/value-of-christian-friends
Mr Anthony Hudson
On behalf of the Deputy Principals