Parents of pre-teens know what the ride home from a day at school or any social event feels like. Usually it’s the deafening silence of a young person processing all of his or her emotions or if just the right question is asked at just the right moment, a mom or dad might receive all that processing out loud in all it’s passion and confusion. Either way, whether fretting on the inside or on the outside, the topic is always the same. You rarely hear about schoolwork, the quality of food served at Jimmy’s house, or suggestions for the next family outing. No, the topic that is constantly rolling through a pre-teen’s mind is always: friends.
What their friend thinks of them. What their friends think of other friends. What their friends are wearing. Why they have so many friends. Why they think they have none at all.
So often we respond by saying all the right things like, “Honey, your friends like you! How could they not?” or “Oh sweetie, everyone feels this way at your age. It will pass.”
While these and other wise words may be true, we often fail to say the one thing our children long to hear:
“Honey, I’m on your side.”
To be on their side is to…
empathize with them,
seek to understand them,
listen to them,
take time for them,
But, most importantly, to be on their side is to point them to the One whose friendship and nearness is your example, as a parent, and the real friendship our kids truly need. Here’s what the Bible tells us about God’s nearness and friendship to us…
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord [a]God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
May these verses encourage you, first as a child of God yourself, but as you seek to demonstrate the nearness and loving kindness of our God in your children’s lives. They need to know that He is near. They need to know you are on their side.
Because of grace,
Ruth Chou Simons, www.gracelaced.com