Taken from ch. 7- "A Strong Friend"
The Relationships We Reap
Galatians 6:7 tells us plainly that we reap what we sow--and I believe this is especially true of family relationships. If I sow affection, commitment, and encouragement into the lives of my children, chances are I will reap deep, close relationships with them that will last for a lifetime. If I don't make our relationships a priority, I risk reaping the consequences of a broken, scattered or distant relationship.
My daughter Sarah shared with us at dinner one night that her friends who spend most of their time with their peers tend to communicate negatively about the guidance their parents want to give them. She expertly mimicked their complaints: "My parents insist that I can't drive my car because I don't have insurance! But it's my car! My baby-sitting job is so close I won't get into any trouble! It's so unfair!"
Sarah said, "Mom, I see it all of the time. The kids who aren't close to their parents act as though their parents' rules are unreasonable and even as though their parents have no right to thell them no. They think they should be able to make all of their own decisions."
The problem with these kids, as Sarah sees it, is not just her friends' attitude but the fact that these kids' parents haven't done what it takes to maintain a close relationship with them. Though children are rightly told to honor their parents, it is certainly easier to honor those parents who have shown honor to their own children by doing what it takes to build a relationship.
The hunger for love, affirmation, attention, and acceptance is a deep drive that will search for fulfillment until it finds it. A child's first attachment is meant to be with its mother, so lots of loving touches and caresses from her make a difference in the child's future intellect, emotional stability, and sense of well-being. Time and affectionate attention from a father and significant others is crucial as well.
However, if a child's need for such attachment is not met in the home, he will tend to look for it from his peers or anywhere else he can find it. In order to fit in with those willing to give him time, the child will tend to adapt his values and morals to whatever is required. At the same time, a child who does not learn to make healthy attachments and maintain healthy relationships in her family may have a hard time developing intimate bonds with anyone in the future.
As a mother, I have the ability to provide the love, acceptance, and attention my children need to grow up secure and able to develop mature relationships. I also have the opportunity to model mature love, commitment, forgiveness, accountability, grace, and encouragement for my children. The home is an ideal environment in which children can experience the growth of mature relationship where give-and-take are learned in the context of real life. And this ideally includes an understanding of the true power of God's love.
And so I am working very hard
raising my own best friends!