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Monday, April 28, 2014

Mommy Monday ~ Teaching your kids how to choose their friends

I've said it a million times...

Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character.

It is a verse that we have painted on the wall at The Porch, and we have said over and over to the teenagers that come in.
I have taken kids aside and said look...I think you're an awesome kid. I really do. But if you choose to hang out with _________? I am not going to give you the benefit of the doubt if something goes wrong.

You are choosing to take on the reputation of the person you spend time with.

The Bible gives a ton of verses that help us teach our kids the importance of choosing friends.
Proverbs 22:24 says ~
Do not befriend angry people, or associate with hot-tempered people.

There are other verses that talk about the importance of who you spend your time with.

This is a concept that is extremely important to teach to our kids, even at a very early age.
You can be teaching your 5-year-old to be careful that she still controls her emotions if she is spending time with someone who is having temper tantrums.
While we don't want to teach our kids to be judgmental, we still need to teach them the influence that other people have on them!
And it sure is easy to see that played out after a day spent with a particularly whiny child (or tv show! haha!) am I right?!

When I have started teaching this early in my kids lives, it makes it easier when I am talking to my 13-year-old about kids on his soccer team, or other kids that he meets...it's all just reinforcing what we have been teaching since he was little!

But here's where it gets really hard.

These things apply to you too, mom.

Who are you spending the most time with?
Are your friends building you up? or tearing you down.
Are they constantly negative? or do they find the positive to talk about.
Are they dreaming big? or are they happy with living a luke-warm, status quo life.

Don't even think for one second that their attitudes and lifestyle are not affecting you.
Do not be deceived.

This applies in so many areas of life...
You have to think about this same thing when you are running a business.
We run a non profit, and we have to be really thoughtful when it comes to who we decide to have on our team of leaders.
We don't need people who are going to be lacking faith and not willing to work.
Eventually, even if we think we are strong enough, they are going to rub off on us.

So take a minute right now and think about who you are spending the most time with.
Do you need to make any changes?
It's pretty hard to teach your kids to choose their friend wisely if we aren't taking the time to make sure we are doing the same thing.

*Sit down with your kids and have them make a list of character qualities that they think are important to have in themselves.
*Have them write down the qualities that they think are important to have in a friend.
*Then have them look over those positive qualities and think of the friends that show them the most!
*Being careful not to judge (we all obviously have faults and should not be expected to be perfect!) see if they might have any friends they should spend less time with.

Having them sit down and list out what they think is important makes the whole process easier! It is not just you complaining about their friends, it is them starting to take responsibility for their choices!
It allows them to see plainly what they should be looking for, and what is going to be helpful or harmful for them.

I think it is so vital to teach our kids this important discipline, and sadly, I think it is a very easy discipline to neglect teaching!
Let's be intentional about who our kids are spending time with! It may very well save us a lot of grief in the future!

Do not be deceived.
Bad company corrupts good character.

Learn it. Know it. Teach it. Live it.

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