If you are a father you are a teacher.
But what do you need to teach your children?
We need to teach our children how to pick good friends.
This is pretty much where Solomon begins instructing his son in verses 10-19 of chapter 1. He writes, “My sons, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” And he actually spends all kinds of time giving specific instruction to his son on the kind of friendships to avoid, to the point, where he even talks about the kinds of things those friends will say to him and why what they are saying is foolish and why he should reject it.
Which I think sets a pattern for us as parents.
We should spend some time talking with our children about the importance of friendship. We want to help them understand why they should want friends, and what it means to be a friend, and how the kinds of friends we have impact us.
And because we know the influence friends have, we should work on developing a good relationship with our children, so that we will actually know the kind of friends they have.
Do you know who your children’s friends are?
And this can be tough as they go to school, and you are busy, and they are busy, but that’s why you want to work on your relationship with your children, so you will know a little, about what’s going on in their life, and so that you have the opportunity to talk with them about their friendships.
Because friendships are important, you want to do what you can, to get them in situations where they can develop good friendships with wise people. It’s hard to be friends with wise people if you don’t know any wise people, and maybe your children are shy, or whatever, and so it can be challenging, but still, you want to help them get into situations where they will be able to spend some time with wise people so that they will be able to actually develop a relationship with someone who knows more them them.
A great place to start, is by being a good friend to your child yourself.
I know, obviously, as a parent, you are not just their friend. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be their friend, and I think, you really should seek to be their friend and to create good friendships within the family. Family is a place where you learn friendship, which means, you will need to do things with your children and not just watch TV. It’s not wrong to watch television with your children, as long as that’s not all you are doing with your children.
Life is busy. If we are not careful, as a dad, weeks could go by without significant activity time with your children. And so, you may need to sert aside time each week in your schedule where you actually plan something to do with your children.
I used to do this with one of my good friends. We would take turns planning activities for our children. And when we were with the children on those Mondays, it was our goal to have planned something that the children will like to do, and then do it with them.
When we did that, my friend and I were not there just to hang out with each other, though that’s nice, but, instead we wanted to spend a couple hours, just doing fun things with our children.
You’re not really spending time with your children, if you are always just sending them off, over there to do their thing, by themselves. At least some of the time, you should go with them and do things with them and you know, that means, there are going to be some times, when you have to get off your phone. It’s nice to have these phones. It’s amazing. But, they can distract us from what’s important. And, we can go somewhere with our children, and yet, the whole time we are with our children, we aren’t with our children, because we are on Facebook, or responding to WhatsApp’s, or checking something else on our phone, and, that’s not really enabling us to get to know our children.
And you know, besides trying to develop a good friendship with your children, yourself, as a parent, if you have more than one child, you also want to help your children learn to enjoy each other.
They are little sinners living with other little sinners. And so, they aren’t always going to have an easy time getting along with each other, which is why you can’t just sit back. You have to get in there and start helping them learn to look out for and to love each other. After all, God placed them in the same family, and so they have a unique opportunity, and yet, we know, it’s easy to miss out on that opportunity because of sin, and so you want to guide your children, even in their relationships with one another by teaching them, how to deal with conflict, how to be unselfish, how to look out for each other, how to be excited when someone else does better, and as you are doing all that in their relationships in the family, you are also teaching them, how to be a good friend.
And finally, you need to help them learn to discern between different types of people.
There are wise people. And, there are simple people. And, there are foolish people. And there is a difference between all, these kinds of people. Someone might not know truth, and as a result do things that look foolish, and yet, when they are confronted , they change, quickly, which is a very different kind of person than someone, who just hates truth, and you need to help your children be able to tell the difference.