Their daughter came home from school crying, “All my friends hate me!” as she ran to her room and slammed the door. One of the biggest challenges a dad and mom face in the transition from the ‘Teacher’ season, the first ten years of a child’s life, to the ‘Coach’ season, the second ten years, is providing a healthy perspective on relationships.
Mom understood the low their daughter was experiencing – girls she thought of as friends had turned on her. The mom and dad opened the girl’s door and Mom told of her experience with a ‘slam book’ as a young girl. In a spiral note pad passed between girls in her junior high school, girls she thought of as friends wrote ugly untrue stuff about her. One girl ripped a page out to show her what was going on. She was devastated to learn how friends could be so mean. The mom shared how her mother and father stepped in to provide a healthy perspective on relationships and that as a result, she was able to nurture true friendships as she matured. Mom and Dad helped their daughter realize a healthy perspective on highs and lows associated with friendships.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you." – John 15:15. Jesus introduced a new level of relationship with His disciples. There was a maturing to ‘friendship’ because He had taught them everything He had learned from His Father, what they needed to know to take a step forward as His disciples. It was time to move into a relationship that would help them comprehend the ‘why’ behind His teaching – Why He was born of the virgin; Why His Kingdom was not of this world; Why He would be killed. This intimacy as friends was particularly true with Peter, James and John. Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There He was transfigured before them. – Mark 9:2. At this point, Jesus is coaching His disciples through the preseason of their ministry, from the high of transfiguration to the low of the crucifixion. Similarly, dads coach their teenage children through the preseason of adulthood, the highs and the lows of friendships. They help kids take a step forward as young adults in discerning between the shallowness of popularity or ‘likes’ on social media and the depth of friendships that mature into a trust and willingness to be vulnerable with each other.
Early on friends are typically neighborhood kids or classmates. A friend is defined as, “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” The bond of mutual affection may be a common interest in sports or other activities. As kids mature, it is normal for interests to change and friendships change as well. Kids need a good ‘Coach’ to provide a healthy perspective as they navigate through the highs and lows associated with friends.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and the friends You have surrounded me with. I confess that for too long I did not trust friends or anyone for that matter. I was too busy trying to overcome challenges before me. Forgive me. Thank You for bringing God guys into my life that I can absolutely trust. Help me embrace these friendships to the full and ‘Coach’ my kids through a healthy perspective for such friendships. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father provides a healthy perspective for friendships.