I've often talked about what wonderful friends I am blessed with. They are true and honest and real friends. I am so often thankful for them, but sometimes I forget to be thankful for my kids' friends, too.
In this age of cyber bullying and sexting, I found it refreshing when my son's friends came over for a sleepover without apprehension in matters of silliness. Thirteen and 14-year-old boys are obviously not known for their maturity, but it's a funny, in-between age where we are simultaneously looking to the not too distant future at impending adult responsibilities and the not long past fun of being a little kid without responsibility. Middle schoolers are beginning to figure out they have an identity of their own that isn't completely attached to their parents, and it's scary and exciting and unsettling all at the same time. All that while wanting to be accepted by peers. It's quite a conundrum, really.
These boys came over. They threw the football around outside. They drank too much soda and proudly belched in true teenage boy fashion. They ate and then ate some more. They played foosball and discussed flatulence and Star Wars. They ate again. More than anything, though, they were just silly. Hilariously silly. They laughed. They laughed at everything from hamburger buns to poo poo emojis and hockey. It was a safe place.
While I can't say that I've been a perfect parent by any stretch of measure, I can say that we have modeled having and valuing real and honest friends. To this point in their lives, our kids seem to get that because they've made great choices, as well, and it has been a real blessing. These kids are navigating this space together. It's hard to let them do that sometimes. I want my kids to always be protected and not make any poor choices, but they will never learn to be productive, able adults if I protect them every step of the way. It's not God's design for them to be dependent on their parents into adulthood, but I do feel better about them taking those steps when they have peers who let them be themselves.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they making you a better or worse version of yourself?
Make it a beautiful day, friends.
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