Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friend Issues - Take Two

One thing I've learned about parenting is that I wish I was a whole lot smarter than I am.  We muddle through this thing, sometimes blundering around like a bull in a china shop, and it's a wonder our kids survive us at all.

But there's hope.  God promises wisdom to those who ask for it.  I love Isaiah 40:11, "... He gently leads those that have young."  And we have each other.  Not to pool our ignorance, but to remind each other of the Truth.  To pray for each other.  To comfort.  I appreciate all of you who have chimed in with your wise words.

If you missed it and you're interested, you can see the first part here.

As I've been thinking about this issue of friendships, and re-reading your helpful comments, I've come to divide my thoughts into three parts.  And at the risk of rambling on for way too long, I think I'll post just one part at a time.  Besides, if I don't, I'll keep fussing over them.  So, inspired by this (off topic) post, I'm labeling them Beta Thoughts.  Moving on...

1.  How we want the boys to treat others.

Well, that should be obvious, shouldn't it?  Nicely.

I think Craig first mentioned James 2:1-5, and I know that is in the forefront of Kerry's mind too.  We dont' want to model - or allow the boys to develop - the attitude that people are there to serve our purposes, or that we don't befriend people unless they can benefit us in some way.  I think we all know what it feels like to be overlooked or outright rejected by "the in crowd" and we certainly don't want to treat others that way.  Besides, in God's eyes that's all upside down anyway, isn't it.

But we want to do better than just being nice.  (Though that's a jolly good start!)  How about something really radical?  Philippians 2:3-4 hits the nail right on the head, "... in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others."  Ouch.

So we're working on the one another's.  You know...
  • love one another
  • show mercy and compassion to one another
  • encourage one another
  • be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • honor one another
  • live in harmony with one another
  • serve one another
  • bear with one another
  • be kind and compassionate to one another
  • forgive one another
  • offer hospitality to one another
And I could go on.  But I left out the one about "greet one another with a holy kiss."
Because there is just. no. way.

And in all of that, Kerry and I are on the same page.

Where we differ, things get a little slippery.  Kerry is definitely more tender-hearted than I am, much more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I'm more motivated to protect my own, you know - that mother bear thing.  Which may make me sound more cold-hearted than I hope I actually am.  In some ways we're backwards to the stereotype.  He leads with his heart and I lead with my head.  (Not a sideways insult.  Just tellin' it like it is.)

If you picture a scale with compassion at one end and discernment at the other, Kerry leans toward the compassion end and I lean the other way.  That's not a snide way of saying he's not discerning, btw, but that we definitely weight those values differently.

But the good news is, they're not mutually exclusive.  As several of you have pointed out, there's more than a semantic difference between being a friend and being friends.

So there you go.  Part One.  Discuss.


Craig and Heather said...

"One thing I've learned about parenting is that I wish I was a whole lot smarter than I am."

I remember when my parents didn't seem very smart. Then after I left home they got REALLY smart REALLY fast. Now we find out that when I thought they weren't very smart, they didn't feel very smart either.

I appreciate your thoughts, and can't wait to find out what God is teaching you. Will continue to pray.


Ruby said...

It's been good to follow this along with you and your readers. As you say not to pool our ignorance but to ponder what the Word and the experience of godly families, teach on these things.
It seems the mums often are a little more on the head side in this. Our hearts are so tied up in our own children sometimes we can be a little hard on others. It's the she bear thing. But, as in your family, God usually sees to it that we are help meet to a man who balances us out.