Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's Gathering At the Well is hosted by Amy from In Pursuit of Proverbs 31. The topic is What God Has To Say About the Family Kind Of Love.

Amy discovered a POW (Pearl of Wisdom) in Titus 2:4, about which she wrote, "The original word used is actually a single word philandros. Philos, the word it is derived from, means to love in the sense of "to be friends with". It means, “friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well.” When expounded upon in the Greek lexicon we can find that the meaning of this “love” is different from the “love” of John 13:34, agapao, which means: ” to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.” I don’t know about you but that gives me a whole new perspective of that verse. The same can be said of "love their children". The word philoteknos is the original, single word used."

Clearly, one of the ways we are to love our husbands and children is with a friendly kind of love. We should be quick to show them love in the same way we do our friends, including the trademarks of friendship - respect, kindness, deferrence, trust and forgiveness.
What is your definition of friendship?

I believe friendship is a precious word, not to be thrown around lightly. True friendships exist in the form of a bond between two people. The things you have in common with them is part of the glue that holds your friendship together. As I intimated above, it's a relationship where respect, kindness, deferrence, trust, and forgiveness is shown. Love is definitely involved in a friendship, although it's not the same intimate love that is reserved for our husbands or for God. It's a form of that love, to be sure, but not the same. We should always be quick to draw the line of propriety in friendships with people of the opposite sex so that the love we have for them doesn't become confused with the love we have for our spouses. We should also be quick not to make idols out of our friends, putting them before God. The same should be true with our spouse and children. We can love them to the moon and back, but not so that it interferes with our love for God, putting Him on the back burner.

Did you follow the belief that we should not be friends with our children?

I actually did. I had heard that you cannot be both a parent and a friend to your child.
Has that changed?
I believe at certain ages of their lives they do need to see you as both. Being friendly with your children doesn't have to negate from your role in parenting them unless you let it. I learned this from helping raise my bonus daughter. Kristyn was 6 when Steve and I married. I was 20. A young 20. He had full time custody of her. Around the age of 8, her mother did begin to get her every other weekend, but it was pretty much us doing the parenting.

At some points in her life she needed to see me clearly in a parental role. Discipline and guidance was something that I had to totally remain parental in; however, in performing these actions, friendship could still shine though. We were great friends when she got older. She needed less discipline and the guidance I was able to offer her was much better received when it was given over cappacino's rather than with her standing beside receiving a lecture while I was cooking.

I made it a point to do activities with her that showed her how much I wanted to be around her. I also treated her as I did my friends, as mentioned in the section above. I do believe a line should be drawn, though. Some children reach a point in their lives where they don't want you as their friend 24/7. We should respect that. They are trying to feel their way into the world around them and don't want you hanging out with them at the movies while they are with friends their own age. When it's just the two of you, it's easy to plop down on the sofa and share a bowl of popcorn while you watch Beauty and the Beast for the 84,000th time. When their friends are over, the last place they want you is on that sofa. Learning to respect that was something I struggled with. I felt wounded, but I was young. I learned that it wasn't a slam against me. She needed alone time with her friends and I respected that. I saw it the same way when I would ask her Daddy to take her on a Daddy Daughter Date while I had a Tupperware Party. We all need alone time with our friends, and we should respect that need.

In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children?

The same way we befriend someone else. Show them love, spend time doing the things we have in common together. One of the ways I have learned to befriend Steve is to develop an interest in the things that he likes that I have no interes in. For example, there's a show about space that comes on Tuesday nights. Y-A-W-N. But for him, I will sit through it. With Kristyn, it didn't matter if I had watched Beauty and the Beast 84,000 times. I watched it 84,001 times because it meant she wanted to spend time with me. I learned to adapt and put my desires on the back burner. By the same token, Steve and Kristyn both have developed interests in things I like. When I'd go out with them, one-on-one or together, we always considered each others preference when deciding on a place to eat. They know I'm not a big fan of BBQ. They know I love McAlister's. So on Mom & Daughter Nights Out, she'd pick the movie, I'd pick the restaurant. Pretty much the same with Steve. I go see Iron Man with him, he was one of two men in the theater when Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood came out. These two men were actually applauded. We just take interest in the things those we love love. We show them respect, kindness, and have fun with them.
What can we do to teach those skills to someone else?
Mostly by example, but blogging, email, holding a small group session, talking one-on-one about it...the possibiliites are limitless.

In Closing

Our families deserve to be treated with the same respect and kindness we show to friends, even strangers. Do you still say please and thank you, or excuse me? Do you still laugh and chat together or do you retreat to different rooms in the house, each doing your own thing? Certainly time alone is required, but family love requires interaction and teamwork.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." ~ Colossians 3:12-15 (NIV)

Today is a day off for us. I plan to spend it with my husband (we are empty nesters now) and will be back later to check out everyone's posts. I can't wait to see your thoughts on this topic! I'm all ears for it because I have two grandsons coming up. I have had the privelege of having been a part of their lives from the moment they were born, so I use alot of these tips in grandparenting, too.



Melanie said...

Great post, Laurie Ann!

I just was not able to get my post together over the weekend for 'At the Well' today, but you shared many thoughts that I would've written in my post (if I had completed it).

Love you! Have a great Monday!

Tracy said...

What a great post! I love the passage you shared in that photo as well. I would have to say, (like you) I show love by doing things with my husband I know mean something to him (i.e. watching a movie together, etc.) LISTENING to him (took me a long time to learn this one) rather than trying to assume what he wants and doing it for him. Leaving encouraging post-its in unexpected places sometimes giving him a "just because" card.

Another way I like to show love is by making something...maybe my hubby's favorite dessert or sending my son a care package of his favorite cookies.

Most important would be praying for my husband and son (actively asking how I can best pray for them).

Hope this is what you were looking for...sorry for rambling!


Enjoy your special day off together!

Redeemed By His Love said...

What an insightful post! You answered the questions online. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your experiences.
I posted the questions on my blog for women to personally answer in quiet time with the Lord and just gave a couple of experiences of my own.
We will be empty-nesters in just a short couple of years.
Thank you for your encoraging comment on my blog.

LAURIE said...

Hi Laurie Ann, hope you are enjoying your day off.

"Our families deserve to be treated with the same respect and kindness we show to friends, even strangers."

I loved this ... I have always said that we need to treat each other (my family) like we treat others and maybe even a little bit better! We can choose our friends and friends come and go but we only get one family!

love, Laurie

He And Me + 3 said...

I totally agree with you. Sometimes though it is easier to be nicer to friends than family...hmmm. Maybe because we are around them 24/7...
But time is very important in developing a friendship...something my kids want from me. Time is free too. So it is something everyone can give.
love this post!

Rebecca said...

"Being friendly with your children doesn't have to negate from your role in parenting them unless you let it." Well said. I think it's the non-Biblical view of friendship that causes people to become so upset at the of being a friend and parent.

"Discipline and guidance was something that I had to totally remain parental in; however, in performing these actions, friendship could still shine though." I love the advice you give here about changing our approach as kids get older. I will file it away for future use. :)

~ Rebecca

Jensmere said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing your heart here.

I must say I am married to my very best friend...we are careful to treat each other with the respect of friendship within our marriage relationship. AND my sweet daughter is also my very dear friend. Growing up there were times that it was just the two of us..Dad off working on another was critical that we have the bond of friendship as well as the Mother/Daughter relationship.

Isn't God's creation of love the most amazing thing! So many levels, so many expressions, and still more to discover when we see Him face to face!

Bless you, dear one!

Michele Williams said...

Great post! I married my best friend....almost 35 years now!

My daughter and I are more friends now than when she was younger. I think as they grow older you become more and more friends. I am a much more relaxed person today than I was when she was growing up. I'm much more patient with my 14 year old grandson....


Denise said...

Such a wonderful post sweetie.

Darlene said...

Great post!
As a mom of a daughter...I always looked forward to the day when we could be friends. I felt in my heart when the time came we would be the best of friends. Now I wonder if she will ever talk to us again. She is still running from God..from us ...
I pray that one day God will return her to HIM and then to us.
I don't know why ....but, oh how she is on my mind this day. I pray for her so much through out the day...but today...seems so much stronger. I long to hear her voice and to see her beautiful face. One day soon....

Amy Bayliss said...

You said, "Our families deserve to be treated with the same respect and kindness we show to friends, even strangers."

Oh my. Isn't it amazing that we can and do treat some strangers better than our own family? How can this be? You definitely struck a cord with me. Then again you usually do!

Great compilation of thoughts, my friend!