How Can Parents Help Kids Find Community?
Having a solid group of like-minded friends who you laugh and enjoy life’s joys and troubles with, there’s nothing better! Braxton walks us through helping our kids find community as they’re growing up.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
“Community” is such a buzzword around the lives of adults and children alike. People desire it, but we’re often reluctant to put in the effort to maintain and grow in community. God calls us to live in community…including our kids-because He wants what is best for them too!
Here are a few tips to help our children find community in different seasons of their rapidly changing life:
- Be bold in who you are, and in your pursuit of friendships. In my adolescence, I spent much of my time alone because I waited for people to come and find me. Many did try, but I often ignored their invitation. Encourage your child and nudge them (you can prayerfully determine the strength of your nudge!) into situations for them to put in a concrete effort to pursue others and go create community and friendships..
- Community will change, and that’s okay. People come, people go. Sometimes there’s not mutual effort, or sometimes there are difference in interests. God’s provision accounts for change in this Earthly journey we are on; man is fleeting and inadequate, it has been that way since Genesis 3! Trust in the security of your identity in Christ, and know that He is consistent. Even if people change, or your community changes, He doesn’t. Embrace the change and the challenge – form new bonds and forge new relationships. Don’t ever be discouraged by the way that community changes.
- If you don’t know where to start, then run to your church or pick a church. Sometimes classes, events, or sports provide opportunity for community. Outside of those specific areas our kids may not find people aiming to follow Christ…this is where your local church body comes in. There’s a wealth of children’s ministries, youth groups, and events that happen to bring people together all for the glory of Christ (Psalm 115:1). Any Christ-following church, is eager and willing to embrace you, point you to Jesus, and plug you into community.
Love God, Love Others. It’s our motto around camp. Clearly that ties in with our desire and need to find community! Most importantly, in finding and pursuing community, hold no expectations! If you are seeking to first love the Lord with all your heart and soul, and then to love your neighbor as you do yourself, then community falls into place naturally. Love Him, Love Others – that’s all we have to do, He does the rest!
As you seek to find friendships and community, remember what Matthew says…Love God first with your whole heart and soul, and love your neighbor second, as you love yourself. When you meet new people, treat them exactly like you’d want to be treated. How do you love God first in all you do? How can you love others as yourself this week?