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Friend or Foe
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Brenda and I were about the same age. We had two children each—an older daughter and a younger son. We took our children to church regularly when they were young and we both continued to attend church as empty nesters. We both really loved and liked our children and prayed for them often. Our mothering styles were similar and we enjoyed spending time with our children. That’s where the similarities ended.

First, Brenda’s husband was not a Christian and was an alcoholic. Although he loved his children, he wasn’t a good influence. My children’s father was a kind Christian man who was a good example.

Brenda’s children attended public school through high school. My children attended Christian schools through college.

Brenda’s son began using drugs and alcohol in his teens and was killed while driving drunk when he was 21, leaving an infant son and the child’s unmarried mother. Brenda’s daughter was a successful Army officer, but had two rocky marriages behind her before she was 30.

My children graduated from college, were virgins when they married at 25 and 30, attend church regularly and so far have happy marriages.

What made the difference? It had little to do with me or Brenda but had everything to do with the friends they made.

Here’s what I think.

Can you make good Christian friends in public school? Absolutely.

Were there more choices in a Christian school? Yes, I think so.

Are there bad influences in Christian schools? Yes. There were drugs, alcohol and premarital sex, but since the school was small and I knew all my children’s friends, I was able to encourage the friendships that I thought would be good for them. They often led out in youth activities with their friends and ended up attending the same Christian college, where they continued to be leaders in religious activities.

Did some of their friends choose unhealthy activities? Yep. What happened then? Their friends helped them get back on track and held them accountable – an activity they continue to maintain.

Is good parenting important? Absolutely, but I truly believe that the best thing we can do for our children is help them develop Godly friends. “A friend is always loyal” (Proverbs 17:17).

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © copyright 1996.

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