My second grader is attending a new school and is learning first-hand how to make friends. For the last few days, we’ve gotten the reports of “so and so doesn’t want to be my friend” or “so and so wouldn’t let me sit beside her today at lunch”. As a parent, I had to quickly think how should we handle this—do we just “blow it off” because that’s the way kids are, do we ask who their parents are and try to contact them or do we make it a teachable moment? I quickly decided to make it a teachable moment.
I proceeded to tell her that in life, we all have people that don’t like us for one reason or another. We can waste time trying to fit in or do whatever makes that person happy in order for us to fit in or we can move on. I also told her that the Bible teaches us if we want friends, we have to show ourselves friendly (Prov. 17:17) and we talked about her asking them to be her friend. We talked about all the things the “mean girls” were missing out on by not being her friend (a quick lesson in self-esteem—you are valuable and special regardless of what anybody says). We also prayed and asked the Lord to give her wisdom to choose the right friends and make good decisions. After a good discussion, I allowed her to choose her course of action. She decided to try asking the girls to be her friend. A few days later, one of the two girls had decided to be her friend.
While this is a “childish” story, there are many life lessons to be gained:
- There’s no need to waste time trying to fit in if you can’t be yourself.
- Choose friendships/relationships wisely.
- There’s no need to rush into friendships. Take time and figure out who you really want and need to connect with.
- No situation is ever too trivial or small to pray about and ask for wisdom.
- Every moment can be a teachable moment.
- Allow your children to grow up and make decisions even at a young age.
- Allow your children to be responsible and take personal responsibility for their actions rather than hovering over their every move.
- Listen to your children and don’t brush “little things” off. They can be HUGE in their eyes.
- Teach your children that they are valuable and worthy of having the best.
~Coletta Jones Patterson