Friday, January 13, 2012

Parent vs Friend

I was just thinking about "friendship". You often hear parents say things like, "I'm their parent first and friend second." I have even heard parents say, "I'm their parent not their friend!" And, it seems that this is recognized as a noble attitude toward parenting. But, is it?

Everyone needs friends, right? So, parents believe that their child will find friends somewhere other than with them. And, kids will find other kids to hang out with and call their friends. But, sad truth of the matter is that what kids find in other kids is not people authentically interested in them who will stick with them thru thick and thin. What kids find in other kids is usually going to be people who find them interesting and fun to hang out with, and, when the interesting and fun part gets tampered with those "friends" disappear.

Often, as kids the person we referred to as our "best friend" was the one going out and doing all sorts of "bad" and "naughty" things with us. Often, it was our "best friend" who was the one who we told all of our dirty secrets to and they did nothing to try to dissuade us from pursuing those things, but on the contrary they encouraged them. It was often our "best friend" who sat there while we defied, rebelled, and lied to our parents and cheered us on. But, was this person really our friend if they didn't care about us dong bad stuff?

I believe it is because of this experience that most of us have that parents think that if you are your child's friend then that means you'll just sit back and let your kids get into self-destructive and bad things and do nothing. But...

The Bible says:
"A friend loves at all times."

If a friend loves at all times…what is love? What does being a friend really mean?

Love (a friend) is patient…
Love (a friend) is kind…
Love (a friend) is not jealous (unhappy for you when things go well for you)…
Love (a friend) does not brag (does not try to make you feel small so they can be big)…
Love (a friend) does not act unbecomingly (never does anything shameful or rude)…
Love (a friend) does not seek its own (never puts themselves first, uses you or treats you selfishly)…
Love (a friend) is not provoked (doesn't get mad at you easily)…
Love (a friend) does not keep a list of the things you've done wrong…
Love (a friend) does not get excited about wrongdoing (doesn't sit back and giggle while you lie to your mom on the phone)…
Love (a friend) rejoices with the truth (likes good stuff)…
Love (a friend) bears all things (never gives up on ya)…
Love (a friend) believes all things (believes in you!)…
Love (a friend) hopes all things…
Love (a friend) endures all things…
Love always wins…

Could anything be better than a friend?

I know myself...I want to be my children's bestest friends. I know I fail at times and am impatient...I'm sometimes unkind...and I sometimes do things I'm ashamed of...and I could go on. But, when I look at this list above, I want more than anything to be my children's friend. And, the only way to teach someone what "friendship" is is to show them by example what friendship really looks like. I know that if I treat them as a friend they will treat me the same in return, and will most likely be that type of friend to their brothers and sisters and to others. 

Can you just imagine a whole family full of "friends" who all treat each other with love? 

I believe that if I were to simply focus on being my children's friend...my whole household would change...

So, if you believe you should not be your child's friend...what would you scratch off that list above to make you a "parent" and not your child's "friend"...and how would that be better? 

And, if a "parent" is different and superior than a "friend" then...what IS a parent? 

What more superior qualities to a "friend" (see above) is a "parent"? 

And, if Jesus is our "friend"...how is being a "parent" better than that?

I believe those questions are worth thinking about...


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