From a forum at the Homeschool Lounge:
Q. “I was just wondering how everyones kids make friends? I am a hsing mom of 5 and I know that it has not been easy for my children to make new friends at all. We live around a ton of kids but, they are not exactly the type that I want my children to befriend. I would love to hear how everyone elses children are doing on this. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.”
The best way to make friends is to be friendly!
This means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and inviting families into your home.
Your children will get to know the guest family’s children while you get to know the parents at the same time.
Inviting people into your life takes a lot of faith – trusting in God that even if people fail you (cuz they will!) that the Lord will comfort you, sustain you, and that you can work through broken relationships for God’s glory.
A safe way to get your feet wet in fellowship ministry is to start by inviting families over from church. You don’t have to make a gourmet meal – a large pot of spaghetti goes a long way, and you can allow the guest family to bless your family by having them bring dinner rolls or a salad. Jello with a dollop of whipped cream is an easy, tasty dessert. Think of ways to be a blessing to your guests whether they be adults or children.
From there, invite over neighbors, people from your husband’s work, people in homeschool groups… the list goes on.
It is through fellowship with others than lasting relationships are developed.
Sure, you might get to know people without inviting them into your home – but there will always be a wall there.
Face to Face: Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality by Steve Wilkins is a good resource for thoughts on developing deep, God honoring friendships.
Someone else responded to my post and included the line, “Playlands and parks are not permanent places to meet friends, just someone to play with at that moment.”
So I replied:
I am somewhat concerned, but at the same time we are to be the like the salt of the earth.
God closed all of the doors when we bought our house, except for the one that forced us to move to the city.
And guess what I found out? God lives in the city, too!!
Do you know what we do with our unruly neighborhood kids? We love them, invite them into our homes (and we do a “pocket check” when it’s time for them to go home) and we feed them lunch or snacks if the clock dictates so. Sometimes we send clothes home with them, when we notice that they have worn the same thing for a week straight.
Do you know else we do with them? Bring them to church with us to Pioneer Clubs! I also hosted a summer vacation Bible school (we did Peacemaker Clubs) last year with two other Christian moms in my neighborhood. We set out a lovely breakfast spread to encourage unchurched moms to stay and listen — and they DID! Not only did they hear the gospel, they also learned about behavior and conflict resolution. It CHANGED the way our neighbor kids – and we have a tough bunch! – related to each other, for God’s glory.
BTW, do you know where I met my Christian husband? At a bowling alley. God is there, and he’s also in neighborhood parks.
Ladies, I would like to challenge you to re-think why you choose to isolate yourselves from others and why you would say things like “I would never”. I really believe that you are choosing to miss out on opportunities to share God’s love with others.
Why wouldn’t you want to make permanent friends with people at a park? People at your neighborhood park are just that – neighbors. What does it mean to “love your neighbor as yourself” ? You can’t love someone unless you have a relationship with them.
May I also suggest that if you let non-Christian children into your home that you are RIGHT THERE to supervise the situation. As the lady of the house, you have the authority to send swearing, fighting boys home if you need to.
I have, at 9 months pregnant, stepped in (hey, I believe God is control and that no one will harm me without God’s authority – I cannot say the Bible is true in this respect and still live in fear!) and broke up a fist fight between neighborhood boys in my living room. It’s not like I could just sit there and cry! I had to DO something! Because I have been strict with them while they are in my house, I firmly told them they will stop and seek each other’s forgiveness – that they were sinning against each other and against God. Do you know what these tough little boys did? They obeyed me. And, they played very nicely after that. They knew that if they didn’t, that they’d get sent right home – a place they didn’t want to go because they are not loved there.
If you don’t like the kids in your neighborhood, PRAY for them fervently. Submit yourself to the Lord and beg him to bring you opportunities to share the gospel with them. Ask Him to work in the hearts of the little ones that He has put right under your nose.
Luke 18:16-17 But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”