Where To Place Your Kids
A dear friend has a favorite quote that I have come to appreciate. “Place your kids where you want them to choose their friends, because as they get older, they will listen to their friends and not to their parents.”
I sit on a limestone staircase typing at the park today listening to my four daughters run around hollering at each other. They are laughing and chasing one another. Today I’m not just enjoying my own four but an extra four girls. We have four friends over today, so we loaded up and headed off to one of the girls favorite local parks. They’ve organized a game including running, chasing, tagging, strategy, and imagination. I am glad we’re here. I love to watch them play creatively with their friends. I am glad we have the extra kids; however, it wasn’t simple to make this happen. It has involved texting back and forth with other busy moms. Driving here and there to pick up or drop off. Feeding them all snacks and so on. It requires effort to do this. It takes planning and purpose to make this happen. I have to think about it ahead of time. I have to organize it. Yet, this time with good friends is totally worth it.
It is extremely important to me to make time with friends happen for my children, especially friends I approve of. Buddies that I know will not be influencing my children to do wrong. Friends that won’t have them catching bad attitudes like catching a bad head cold! They need socialization and interaction with other children. The thing that is a priority in my life is keeping them around the right kind of kids to interact with and socialize with. As they are exposed to a group of peers, they have the opportunity to choose the friends they click with and can potentially become close to. Therefore, the children I expose them to is unbelievably important to me.
This friend pool will be the pool they chose from for future interaction and eventual peer pressure. There will come a day when they are full grown teenagers and I’m not nearby. They will be alone with their friends. They will, as a group, go in a certain direction. They will be pressured whether on purpose or just as a natural part of life to act like their peer group. So, what group of friends do I want to make available to them? For me it’s a group that, as a whole, has good morals and ethics. One that has positive attitudes and clear direction in life. One that is kind and will not intentionally hurt my daughters. These are the friends I am looking for to interact with my girls. That means when I identify these character traits in a potential friend, I will do as much as is possible to get them together. I will go out of my way so that they can spend time together and develop their friendship.
I won’t always have little girls living in my house to take to the park. My days of watching them play, run through the woods, and laugh with their friends will pass. They will grow up, graduate, and start their own lives. But until then, I will enjoy these park expeditions and bring along as many friends as I can cram into the minivan. Hopefully, these friends we drag along with us will be a great influence on my children and my children will be a great help to them as well. Remember, “Place your kids where you want them to choose their friends, because when they grow up, they will listen to the friends instead of their parents”.