Family Faith Friends – Keeping it all together

How can we enjoy having family faith friendss all together? Some people find this challenging and they always want to separate friends from family and faith.

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Most people in today's world think that it is not ‘cool’ to discuss faith with friends. They fear that they will lose their friendship, in case their friends don’t think the same way.

Some even try to keep their family relationships away from work friends. Some working husbands and wives do not want to show how close they are to their spouses. They would rather keep it private and pretend to be work-dedicated.

What did Jesus do during his life? Did he separate family faith friends from each other?

Today Christianity is embraced by people all around the world, because Jesus showed his friends what he did. Can we too keep our family faith friends all knit together?

When our children began to enjoy the company of friends, we had to show them how to choose good friends. This is very important, as at a young age, they wouldn’t really know what is right from wrong and they would like to imitate friends. As a parent I knew I could do two things. One is to pray for good friends and the other is to guide our children to identify good from bad.

I would teach them, “listen to your heart - if you feel that a certain action makes you feel uncomfortable or if it would hurt another, then don’t do it, even if your best friend forced you to’. Jesus is your best friend and Jesus lives within your heart. Jesus will help you feel what is right from wrong. But you need to choose.

At a very young age, they were able to identify good actions from bad actions. They also knew that if they did a bad action, they would have to face a consequence.

We were very lucky that in their primary years, they were able to make friends of the same age through church. We parents became friends as well and encouraged our children in their friendships.

We would get together very often to pray the rosary in one of our homes. After prayers, our children would either play or watch a movie together while the adults would have long friendly chats.

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We soon felt comfortable discussing about our faith. We discovered that we had the same family values. We would also share books, videos or watch a movie that enriched our faith and love for Jesus. Our children enjoyed these evenings where family faith friends came together.

Now our children are grown and they don’t meet often as they would before. But they cherish their friendships. Family faith friends were very much a part of their upbringing.

The biggest challenge was when they started high school and started to make new friends. We worried about the unknown backgrounds of their new peers. We worried about bad peer pressure and how young children would want to ‘fit in’.

The most important thing we parents can do at this stage is to pray for our children for wholesome friends and to continue to guide them on how to choose good friends. Here is a Mother’s prayer I often prayed for ‘Children to have wholesome friends’.

It was a blessing that our children joined the parish youth group. Here they were able to make friends of the same age but most importantly, of a strong faith. As friends they would uplift the faith of each other. These friends came from similar families who valued family life, bonding with parents and actively putting their faith into practice by serving the community.

Family faith friends should all be bound together, if children need to have a solid foundation. You cannot separate faith from friends. Once they have this solid foundation, nothing can shake them in their future years.

In the future, if they happen to meet friends of different values, they would be able to identify them easily. They can either try to be a good influence on these new friends or move on knowing that they cannot help everybody. But they would also know to protect themselves from bad peer pressure. I am sure we parents will continue to pray for them.

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