Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Friend Zone

Found Yourself in the Friend Zone? 

There is much debate these days about how to parent our children.  There are several schools of thought about this and several different parenting styles.  For this post, I want to focus on being a parent vs. being our children's "buddy" or "pal".  Let's face it, parenting isn't easy and personally, we haven't gotten it right a LOT of the time, but we continue to work very hard at it.

We take our job of parenting very seriously, because God gave us two wonderful human beings to raise. And we desperately want to make Him proud.  By striving for that goal, it will make our children unhappy with us at times, and I'm here to say, as heart breaking as that is, it's okay, and it's worth the hard work required.  Now our boys are only 16 and 17, FAR from being raised.  We know the results of what we do all these years, won't be revealed for quite some time.  Maybe not until they are raising their own kids.  But, if we strive to do our absolute best and walk with God on this journey, we can be at peace with our efforts in raising children.

So let's look at what the Bible says about parenting (and no this is not going to be a debate regarding whether to spank or not to spank, that's another subject for another day):

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1 KJV)

So, if our children are to obey us, that must mean that we should have something set in place for them to obey, like rules or boundaries.  Our children will eventually understand that these are in place for their safety, or for their own good. And again, they may not see this until they are raising their own children.  Boundaries can always be moved, outward as they show responsibility, or inward as they need to earn trust.  Our parenting includes us being very involved in our children's activities, from sports to music to homework to setting goals. We also encourage them in their Christian walk and in their friendships.  And, yes, we spot check their social media (another post for another time!)  It's tiring, and it very often costs us a LOT of time and sleep, but it's worth it -  we don't get this chance again.  We don't get another shot at raising our boys, THIS IS IT!  We want to make everything we do count for good!

Now before you think you are reading a post from the most UNFRIENDLY parent ever, let me show you something as we look at what the Bible says about friendship:

(And I'll be honest with you, I didn't realize how many 'friend' verses there were in the Bible until I began to write about this subject.) I titled this post "The Friend Zone" which has negative connotations in itself, but I realize after delving into this subject matter a little deeper that maybe it is not so wrong to be your child's friend. Take this verse:

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

(This is actually one of my favorite verses, when the boys were little we had a Steve Green video of Bible Songs for kids and he sang a song with the words to this verse.  I'm smiling right now as I hum along to:

There is a friend (echo) There is a friend
A friend who sticks (echo) A friend who sticks
Closer than a Brother
and F-R-I-E-N-D who sticks closer than a B-R-O-T-H-E-R
Closer than a brother.

Anyway, that friend is Jesus; and that Jesus is part of the Trinity -  which includes God the Father.  And we who are the Saved Children of God through Salvation in Jesus Christ get to call Him our FATHER!  We are FAMILY, we are HEIRS of GOD:

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."(Galatians 4:7 KJV)

So, my Father is my Friend . . . hmmm . . . see where I'm going here?

Jesus said:  "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (John 15:14 KJV)

When we do what we are commanded to do by God, we are showing our friendship, our love for Him.  The same goes for the parent/child relationship.  

Are you following me now?  It's right to be a parent to our children, AND it's right to be their friend, BUT we have to be a "true" friend to them as God is to us.  It's not just about being fun, it's about love and discipline, it's about support and correction.

This is what I found when I  looked up the definition of 'friend': 

- a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance; a supporter

Again . . . hmmmm . . . sounding a lot like how I, as a parent, relate to my child.  

When I looked up the definition of 'parent' in the verb form, look what I found: 

- to parent with both love and discipline


If you think about someone in your life who is a true friend, it's someone who can tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Or, if you are a true friend and you see your friend doing wrong, misbehaving, talking negative, etc. do you let it continue? Or do you speak up and let them know with love that they are doing wrong. Maybe you pray them through a tough time. You let them know you'll be there for them. But, if they continue in their waywardness, you might even try some tough love? Isn't it the same with our children? They do wrong, we correct them; if they continue, we discipline - just as God the Father does with us!  My husband and I have people in our life that we love dearly, because they are able to set us straight when we are doing wrong and we know they are doing it in love, Christ's Love!

We truly believe in parenting by loving, supporting, setting boundaries and disciplining.  Do we get tired? YES! But it's necessary, worth it and rewarding!  Might we challenge you to be your child's friend? But even more importantly, might we challenge you to do it by parenting God's Way?  Start today!

Much Love,
Team Gage

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