Well, that’s up to them – and you!
To be honest, I really thought the idea that homeschoolers don’t socialize was not a subject anymore until a few weeks ago. Our family was at a church gathering when a woman asked where my children go to school, and I told her they’re homeschooled. She looked at my daughter and said, “Do you like that? Don’t you miss socializing?” I quickly interjected to let the woman know how often we have to set boundaries before we over-socialize ourselves within the homeschool community.
I went to traditional school my entire life and I never made one meaningful connection. In fact, the only connections I had were with kids who were mean and rude because I decided I’d rather hang around someone rather than no one. Pastor Levi Lusko shares a similar story in his book, I Declare War. He ended up in the hospital as a middle schooler trying to hang out with the “cool” kids rather than be alone. His cool “friends’ hurt him so badly with a joke he found himself embarrassed and in the hospital.
I never ended up in the hospital, but I could not stand the “friends” I had. I could hardly stand going to school because of my “friends.” And this was at traditional school.
On the other hand, my daughter, whom the woman was talking to at the gathering, is 16 years old, and has been homeschooled her entire life. She has several close friends. In fact, one of her good friends surprised her two weeks ago and took her on a trip with their family to Dollywood. (Umm – hello – I want a friend like that!)
Going to traditional school or being homeschooled really has nothing to do with making friends. A lot of it has to do with us, believe it or not. We think making friends is this external thing that just sort of happens to the “right” people in the “right” setting, when the truth is making friends can be accomplished in any setting by anyone, but it takes intentional effort on our part. The parent and the child.
Are You Praying for Your Child?
I have been reading an amazing book by Jodie Berndt called Praying Scripture for Your Children. The book offers many life stories and prayers on various topics including praying for friendships for your children. While reading the chapter on friendships something struck me. Sometimes as parents we are so desperate for our children to have friends, we almost don’t care who their friends are. We don’t pray for godly friendships. We don’t pray that our children will be influenced properly and vice versa. We just want them to have friends, but that might mean they have “friends” who are rude to them or they end up in the hospital, like Pastor Levi Lusko. We are so afraid for our children to be alone when in fact being alone for a season is perfectly fine until God connects them with the right friends.
Here’s What You Can Do…
If you want to help your child make friends, first give them godly examples of friendship. Do you have a godly friend? Do you pray with your godly friend? Do you share a meal with your friend? Do you resolve conflict with your friend? Do your children see you interact with your friend for these examples?
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Next, teach your children how to introduce themselves in new settings. Too often, even adults, will walk into a setting and leave because “no one spoke to them.” I literally just heard a man say this about his wife as the reason why she does not attend church with him. She attended once, no one spoke to her, so she does not attend church with her husband. I cannot tell you how much this drives me crazy. I was that person years ago and I was wrong. Yes, we might be in a new setting and it’s nice to have people greet us, but people aren’t perfect. (You aren’t perfect) Maybe the greeters were greeting other people by the time you arrived. Maybe the greeters were pulled into a situation they had to resolve. We are allowed to speak to people when we are in new settings. We are allowed to walk up to someone and say hello – even if we are new.
Proverbs 19:11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Last, don’t force your child to have friends. God knows who your child is, and He will guide them to the right friendships at the right time if you are praying for them. Teach them what it means to have a friend in Jesus Christ until God blesses them with earthly friendships. You be their friend until God blesses them with earthly friendship.
2 Corinthians 1:4 “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Having earthly friends is great. And I pray your child will find a great godly friend this school year. But more importantly, being rooted in Jesus Christ is much more important for your child’s life so be sure you’re praying that they are friends with Jesus Christ and allow Him to guide your child to the right friendships this year.
John 15:12-15 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not email me today and I will pray with you.