I have a list of things in my brain that I want to teach my girls before they flee this nest. I want to train up two insanely gifted babysitters. I think I just heard you scream YES! from your computer or phone. You know this is a worldwide need. I told my best one EVER to start a ministry, really. Train up a LAND of skilled, loving babysitters who have a passion to lighten the load of tired moms.
I’m talking sweeping, laundry-folding, encouraging, dishwasher-loading, kid-loving kind of babysitters. A girl can dream, right? I’ve met a few of those in my time as a mom and I cannot tell you what they have done for my heart and mind at the end of a long day. I’ve want to bear hug them and call their mommas. My friend actually does write their moms notes to encourage them both. Great idea!
Today is about FRIENDSHIP.
How do we raise our kids to be GREAT FRIENDS?
This one is a little easier to tackle and it is perfect timing. Many of our little ones just went back-to-school and some of yours went to preschool for the very first time.
What a great time to get Proverbs 17: 17 engrained in their hearts.
I want my kids to understand and EXPERIENCE from a very early age that friendship is all about how you LOVE others and not what you receive. It’s about how you treat the people you don’t even like that much – even those that are “enemies.” Friendship is how WE BEHAVE and choose to love on others. We are responsible for our piece and can’t ever control the others around us. It seems that “school” (even early as preschool) brings home SO MANY opportunities to teach them about being a great friend. We are quick to get defensive on how our child is treated, but not so quick to think about what our kid might be doing out of our care.
I believe my kids will never have to hunt for a friend in their lives
if they follow these rules in the classroom or wherever they go.
They will come.
- Let your friends go first
- Encourage them daily
- Don’t judge or point out their differences
- Cheer them on when they are better than you at something
- Celebrate with them – even when you are jealous
- Love them unconditionally – even when they hurt your feelings
- Share and share some more
- Let kindness ooze out of your pours
- Be more interested in their day and lives than your own
- Be loyal and there for them until the end
- Be the one they can count on to keep a secret, cry on your shoulder, tell you when they are hurt and squeal when they are happy
- Find the one that no one loves or plays with and love them, the most
- Find sneaky, fun ways to make your friends smile
- Be a light in your classroom not to make your name known but because Jesus shines from within your heart
This list for us as moms can be so similar. Our time is just so consumed with our kids. There just isn’t a lot of down time. As Katie so beautifully reminded us yesterday, Friendship is still a critical need.
Here’s a quick idea list of how moms (not just our kids) can love at all times. Often, our kids learn best from watching us! I pray that through your obedience to love others like Christ calls us – friends will follow. I have to be honest… I have been in a season of friends loving on me. I do love to serve and encourage my friends. I have been hogging the love and it hit me recently that it’s time to pay it forward. Those in Atlanta and Orlando have walked me through this change and I need to make more of an effort to be a great friend. Here are some things I have learned watching my friends at work.
- As you drive (we are in the car ALL DAY), try to think of a few friends you could pray for that week. A quick text later letting them know and how you prayed can really encourage someone. It amazes me how my friends text me at exact moment of need.
- Offer to take a child home with you after school. You’re already there at pickup – taking one more home is often easier to have a friend to play and entertain and MAN OH MAN it gives your tired friend a break.
- Offer to swap babysitting – do they have an appointment this week and maybe you do the next?
- Take a meal. I HATE TO COOK and maybe I mentioned that before but TWO people recently brought me meals for 2 different reasons and that touched me so much and helped a ton.
- Quick email with specific encouragement – if you saw a friend do a great job while being a mom – just let her know. Everybody needs to know they are doing something right.
- Encourage your friends on Facebook. If they posted the photo, chances are they wanted folks to see it. Just take a moment one night to see how many people you could genuinely encourage with kind words through your newsfeed.
- “How can I help?” – Andy Stanley mentioned this question during his current Future Family and I love it for families but for friends too. If you sense a friends is overwhelmed. Simply – “how can I help? Really. Please let me help you.”
- Often, us women just need someone to listen or ask how we are REALLY doing. Even making the effort for 1 hour of coffee time or early morning walk can make a friend feel heard and loved.
I try to model friendship for my girls and we talk about it. If we go get someone’s child or do something that seems “odd” to them – I explain why. “Mommy wants to love her friends and be a great friend.” If someone does something really great for me – we talk about it. “Well, Ella, I’m smiling because Mrs Ickes sent me the sweetest text AGAIN and she’s just a great friend to Mommy. I love encouraging people.” Or “Well, Ella, I’m crying because Katie is the best friend anyone could ask for – and I miss her. Do you miss your friends? We’ll be friends with them for a lifetime! We’ll see them oh so soon. Let’s go make them a card and surprise them with something.”
Last idea, you can try a carpool challenge.
I tossed out this challenge to them the other day before drop-off.
“Hey girls, I want you to find someone today that is lonely or sad and ask them to play with you. OK?
Do you think you can try that?”
They said OK – but quietly and shy. I picked up Larson from her first day and she came bouncing in! Mom! Sam (fake name) was so sad and I asked him to play with me!!!
I love that was her first report and I love that she is 3 and I thought the 5-year-old would pick up on it first. She forgot, I think.
Thanks for being a great friend to me. I wish we could all have coffee together at some point. I must say that I prefer real live relationships over internet but this works too in a busy season for all of us. Just promise me you’ll pray for at least 1-2 core relationships in your town to walk through this season together (if this is not happening).
HOW ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR KIDS TO BE A FRIEND THAT LOVES AT ALL TIMES?
I AM TERRIFIED OF “MEAN GIRLS” (those coming for my girls or mine turning into them)…
ANYONE IN THIS PERIOD OF PARENTING?
HOW ARE YOU WORKING THROUGH TOUGH SEASONS OF FRIENDSHIP FOR YOUR KIDS?