The list is almost complete of the “Ten Things“ (click on the links in the sidebar under “Ten Things” to read all the articles) that I would tell a younger mom are the most important to focus on in Child-Training:
10) Finally, but definitely not least important, choose wise companions.Choose wise companions. Choose wise companions. Choose wise companions. Proverbs 13:20 says,”He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Do we understand how important this is? We must not just let friendships happen! We must choose who we’re going to spend time with, because we and our children will become like them. (“Companions” includes the movies we watch, the music we listen to and what we do with the majority of our time! Am I, as a mom, an example of choosing wise, Godly music and activities?)
We must choose with which families we will walk together through life, side by side. Ask God to send the wisest, Godliest friends to cross your path. Then choose. Don’t let it happen by default. Pray that God will bring into your life those that He wants you to be companions of, for yours and their sake. Never forget, also, that we must BE wise companions.
Choosing unwise companions, or just “letting friendships happen,” and as a result, having unwise friendships, is the #1 reason, I believe, that Godly families lose their children, or lose their good name, or parents watch their children make a bad marriage choice, or that the family’s fruit doesn’t last. Change neighborhoods, change churches, cut off relationships, if necessary, risk offending someone…but don’t be a companion of a fool. “A companion of fools is destroyed.” Did you ever notice that the Bible only speaks of wise and foolish people? There’s nothing in between. Better to have no friends than foolish ones. Spend as much time doing things as a family, as possible. Do everything together! Foster friendship in your own family! Then, get together with other families. Getting together as families is preferable to sending your children off to a friend’s house. If you want a close family, and your children to love each other, don’t be doing things separately! (If they are off away from the rest of the family, know who your children are spending time with, and what they are doing.) Have families to your home. Speak highly of the Godly character you see in other families and their children. (This might prompt a great Bible study, as you find out what God thinks is great character! You might do a word study, for instance, on the “one another” verses. Or do a study on friendships in the Bible, and study David and Jonathan. Or study the character traits which Jesus showed to His disciples, and specifically Peter, James and John.) Point Godly character out, teaching your children to observe others and to be discerning, (this is not judging) and teaching them to recognize Godly character in others, to appreciate it, and to praise it. Your children will notice what pleases you, and seek to emulate that. If you constantly praise how beautiful or handsome someone is, that is what they will seek to become. If you never fail to talk about the athletic prowess of the high school, college, or pro athletes, being good at sports will become their main goal in life. Show them that you think Godly character and wisdom are important, because God says “wisdom is the principle thing”. (*Integrity check: Is this the most important thing to me? If not, what is? What do I need to do about it? ) Don’t make your children feel that you are comparing them to others, though, making them feel that somehow they always come up short. Praise their Godly character the most. (Be looking for it. Have an eagle eye, just waiting to “catch” them showing Godly character!) It is way too easy to become critical! Especially if you have “good kids”, it is easy to take their good behavior for granted, and only talk to them about the little things they need to correct! This can lead to major discouragement in your child, and eventually they may feel that they can never please you, and feel that they should just give up.
Most of all, spend time together as a family. Plan learning opportunities together, serve together, do everything together. By your words and actions, encourage and expect that your children will be best friends with each other. More than anyone else, your children’s best friends should be their own brothers and sisters, and the wisest companions anyone could have.