“A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly.” Proverbs 18:24a (KJV)
When I was a little girl, my Granny would tell me that verse. I wasn’t particularly in want of friends, that came naturally to me. And for years, I thought that was the entire verse. It took my coming to Christ to completely grasp the wisdom of her words, and to learn the entire verse. It wasn’t long before I found myself repeating that verse to my own kids. All of it.
Loneliness in the Family
You can have an entire gaggle of kids and still have a lonely little one in the bunch. As moms, we want to wrap our lonely little one up or spend extra time consoling her. Loneliness in children can manifest as boredom, a sad countenance, and even tiredness and fatigue. It can be difficult to understand. How can they be lonely surrounded by family?
Keep an open heart and mind. Don’t be quick to assign them something to do when they claim to be bored. Don’t shrug it off and ask them to cheer up.
Lean into your child’s expressions of loneliness and listen with your heart. Take your concerns to the Lord.
Loneliness in the Homeschool
Are homeschool kids more prone to loneliness? I think the answer is no. It’s not necessarily a result of homeschooling. That being said, if your children are homeschooled and cut off from the life of the church, then you may see loneliness in your children.
Jesus intended we gather together and partake in the life of the church. Lone wolf Christianity can contribute to loneliness in our children.
In the family first and lived out in the life of the church is where they learn to make friends and develop social skills. Yes, homeschool moms – social skills. There tends to be an error in homeschooling circles that being separate means not just separation from government schooling, but from the church setting. This not only alienates our children from the possibility of making godly friends, but it also alienates (and overburdens) the mom.
We are meant to be part of a church community.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
There’s no such thing as a perfect church. Perfection belongs to Christ.
Loneliness in the Church
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. Montgomery,
In the context of church our kids can be lonely. For some kids, making friends is hard. They can believe that they aren’t capable of making friends or having lasting friendships if they have to work at it. They may grow afraid to even attempt to make a new friend.
As they witness their siblings or others easily making friends, it can increase their loneliness. Make it a matter of prayer that your children will develop deep godly friendships from the time they are little.
And encourage them that it will happen. Teach them to “fear not.”
Struggling with Fear
This struggle can rear it’s ugly head when attempting to make new friends.
Fear is a natural human response to anything we perceive as a danger. Learning to have courage can seem like a big task to a small child. Many times courage is difficult for us adults too. How do we combat feelings of fear? How do we keep fear from controlling our actions and lives? Whether it is being afraid of the dark or our financial future, the steps taken to defeat fear are the same. Remember that courage does not mean fear disappears as it is the ability to face a fearful situation. We will experience fear in our lives but the key is how we handle that fear and who we allow to control our heart and actions.
Help your child conquer fear with 5 short lessons rich with biblical truth in the Peaceful Home: Battling Fear through a Courageous Heart. Click Here to learn more.
Tools to Combat Loneliness
Providing our kids tools to make friends can be a real help to them. Here are ways you can help:
- Help your child understand their personality. Introverted and shy children may struggle a little more to make friends. Let them know God made them special and unique. Help your children see their particular gifts and quirks and how they might benefit a friendship.
- Provide opportunities to make friends. Church, homeschool co-op, community sports, and other local activities are great ways to meet new people. Don’t force your children to socialize, but do encourage and support them in chances to make friends.
- Support them in friendship struggles. People are human and are bound to err. And they don’t always live up to our expectations. Help your child have reasonable expectations of their friends and support them as they develop friendships.
A Cure for Loneliness
As Paul Harvey used to say, “and now the rest of the story…”, or in this case, the rest of the verse.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
And that’s also the good news. The Good News is:
This friend friend is Jesus.
When our children learn to know, trust, and love the Savior, they know they have a lifelong friend to love them. A friend who always wants their best, will always listen, and is closer than any human friend. This friendship will help our children overcome fear and loneliness through the most precious friendship they can have.
Click Here to download a FREE Proverbs 18:24a Poster to serve as a gentle reminder of this truth from God’s Word. Frame and hang in your child’s room or display in your homeschool area.
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