At the Well - Love Your Children
We're joining Amy At the Well this morning, furthering our discussion on friendship with our children.
Being friends with our children truly is a hard concept for some to grasp. I think it's mainly because we have such a high responsibility to love, protect, serve, mentor, and teach them about Jesus. Ah-ha! Isn't that what a friend does? What about discipline? Although the methods may be different, we somewhat discipline our friends, too. Through rebukes given in love and time spent apart from them (time out, perhaps?), we show our displeasure and gently restore them to a right way of living.
I admit that the lines get blurred for me when children are certain ages. However, they shouldn't.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." ~ Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
And semantics should never get in the way.
"Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers." ~ Matthew 12:47-49 (NIV)
These are the words of Christ. By no means was He discounting the special love he felt for His mother and brothers; however, He made a point of saying His disciples were His mother and brothers. Was He saying that Matthew gave birth to Him or Peter was a biological half-sibling? No. I think He was saying that He loved everyone regardless of their titles in life.
While we are certainly more responsible for our children than our friends, we can be friends with our children without discounting our love and responsibility to them.
Personally, I was able to consider Kristyn a great friend as she was growing up. I was able to treat her with the love and respect afforded to my friends and expected the same from her. My role of bonus mom never interfered with this. Although the methods of relating to her were different than how I related to other friends, I found the same to be true with friends who were not my children. I have some friends that I relate to differently than others. Some I am closer to, others I am not. I have one thing in common with all my friends, though.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13 (NIV)
I have heard it said that you were not put on earth to be your children's friends but to be their parents. Why can you not be both? Just as we have different levels of friendship, certainly we can include our children as our friends, perhaps some of the greatest.
Amy mentioned that the following was a great definition of God's love and how we can befriend our children, and I must say that I agree.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
If we use this guideline in our friendships with adults, surely we could use it in our relationship to our children.
I've really enjoyed this study on loving our children. It's taught me alot about friendships not only with children (and grandchildren) but with my friend-friends as well.
Gather At the Well with us this morning, won't you, to discuss your thoughts on this subject.