My dad, Howard, was always a good friend to me. There was no question who the parent was in our relationship, but my dad also made sure that he spent time with me, did things with me, and listened to me as I grew. He was always genuinely interested in what I had to say and what was happening in my life. His example showed me what it means to be a good friend.
As a parent now, I find myself appreciating my dad’s ability to extend friendship to my own children, especially my teenage son Donnie. He and Donnie connect over hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. I watch as my dad engages Donnie, sincerely interested in his life, what he has to say, and his opinion on things.
Donnie, in turn, thinks the world of my dad. This has been especially valuable as Donnie has entered his teen years and my husband, Kyle, and I have had to make some hard parenting decisions, ones Donnie hasn’t always liked. Knowing that Grandpa Howard is always there to listen and encourage Donnie, while also being supportive of our parenting, has been a godsend for each of us.
Parenting is sometimes hard, and having others around who can support us and our kids is invaluable. Parenting, like most things in life, is best done with the support of others. We weren’t meant to carry the burden of raising kids all by ourselves. In a world of individualism, we are told that believers are family, and we are to love and respect others in the family, no matter their age. We can all look around and extend friendship to those in a different stage of life than we are, whether through offering a listening ear, teaching a new skill, or just spending time with them. It’s one way that we support and love the family of believers around us.
Today’s act of friendship:
Look for someone in a different stage of life who may be struggling, such as a child or teenager. Extend friendship and support to them.