He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. PROVERBS 13:20
Barbara and I often prayed that the Lord would supply healthy friends to come alongside our kids at school and at church—friends who could be good, steady influences on them. But we also learned four critical unvarnished observations about peers:
1. Don't assume your children's peers have the same values as your family. Even if they go to the same church and youth group. Even if they seem to be like your children in most respects, don't automatically consider them good friends for your kids to be around. Exercise discernment.
2. Don't assume your children's peers are good choosers of friends themselves. Just because a boy or girl comes from a good home, you don't know the kind of friends they have. You don't know who's likely to be hanging around at their house when your children are there.
3. Don't believe everything your children's peers say. Trust me, even good teens can be deceitful. Our children had friends who lied right to our faces. They lied behind our backs. They were "good" kids by most standards, but they needed to be held accountable and checked up on.
4. Don't assume your children's peers will speak the truth to your children. More than any of the other three items in this list, this one snuck up and bit us. Our daughters had friends who were from great families but who literally tried to undermine what Barbara and I were attempting to teach.
It takes energy, foresight and thick skin to monitor your children's friendships. But whatever the cost in tension, embarrassment and involvement, it's a bargain compared to the bill some friends can run up in your children's lives. I'm not encouraging you to give in to fear and raise loners. I'm not telling you that your kids are too good to be around others. I'm just saying that friends bear watching. Getting to know them well is a good investment of your time.
What do you really know about your children's friends? How could you find out more?
Earnestly ask God to bring godly friends into your children's lives.