How kids learn to be a friend


A good friend of mine recently went through a hard time, both emotionally and physically. I wanted to take her a few things to let her know I was thinking of her. She lives 50 minutes away and my husband was at work. I could have waited until my husband came home to go shopping and drop stuff off at her house, but I decided to not wait and take my kids along.

I talked to my kids about how my friend was going through a hard time and that I wanted to bring a bit of joy into her situation and make sure she knew I cared. They helped me pick out a few things at Target and then waited in the car while I ran it to the door. We had some good conversations about friendship on the drive.

Too often, I forget that the biggest lesson in friendship my kids are getting now is by watching my relationships.

Am I letting them see me make relationships a priority? I often tell my kids that people are more important than things, more important than a show on TV, or a game on the iPad. I can say that all I want, but I need to be living it.

If I want them to prioritize people, I need to prioritize people. They need to see me speaking positively about others, not negatively. They need to see me making time to spend with friends. They need to see that when I am talking to people, I am focused on them and not on my phone.

I am in no way perfect at friendship and certainly don’t claim to be, but I do want my kids to see that it is a priority to me. I want them to see me loving other people well.

Next time you take a meal to someone, have your kids help you make it or have them draw a card to go with it. Let them know that you are texting a friend because you know they had something big going on and you wanted to check and see how they were. Make a point to mention it when a friend does something kind for you. Let them see that friendship is intentional.

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