Helping children learn about God's care
Friends are important. They go to movies together and hang out, talk on the phone, and do lots of other fun things. Once, when a group of kids were talking about having fun with their friends, some tough questions came up.
What if you don't have any friends? Maybe you've moved or your best friend has moved. Sam said, "God is always your friend." You can be grateful for that. He'll make His love practical so you can feel God's love and you won't be lonely. Then you can use this love from God. You can look around and be a friend to someone else who needs one. Several kids shared how they did this. Patricia said she introduced a new girl to students who were in that girl's classes. Another girl, Alex, went for a sleep-over at a girl's house. The girl wasn't all that popular, and Alex wanted to be a friend. Robert told about someone at school who is of a different race than almost everyone else. He didn't talk with the other kids. So Robert talked with him, and they got to be friends.
What if there are lots of kids you don't know, like at a party or a dance, and you're afraid you won't know what to say or how to act? Jen said, "You can always ask God to show you." The kids remembered a Bible story where God asked Moses to do something, and Moses was afraid he wouldn't know what to do or say. God told him, "Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak" (Ex. 4:12). God will always be with you and will always show you what to do and say. When you think about how you're really God's child - and then act that way - you won't be afraid.
What if one of your friends hurts you or disappoints you? Maybe he says something that's not true about you or she breaks a promise. You can think about how your friend is God's child, too, and is really only good. You can focus on the good things - all the Godlike things about your friend. This is what is really true. The good in him will help push out whatever seems bad. The kids said you shouldn't just ignore a problem like this. If you do, it just sits there and might get worse. You need to pray about it and heal it.
What if one of your friends is doing something wrong, like stealing or cheating or doing drugs? They said first they'd talk to this friend and tell her how doing those things could hurt her. They'd pray, too, knowing that God would show her what is right for her to do and think, and that she can hear God talking to her. When you trust your friend to God, you won't be afraid for her.
Don't just feel sorry for her. Feeling sorry for someone just keeps you thinking about the tough situation. It won't help. Trusting your friend to God does help. God's love can take care of anything.
What if you're jealous of someone, maybe because they play soccer better or have nicer clothes or have more friends? They all said, "All that material stuff isn't important." You need to think more about how God made you - spiritual and perfect and wonderful. God loves you and gives you everything good. God doesn't have favorites; He loves each of us. You can always learn more about your true spiritual self. Then you'll see how good you really are, and you'll be happy. When you're feeling good about yourself, lots of people will want to be your friend.
What if you feel someone doesn't like you and might be thinking bad things about you? This is when you need to pray for yourself. You can be sure that God is always taking care of you, so you're always safe. God gives you all your thoughts, so you can't believe anything that someone else thinks about you. God comes to that other person's thought, too, and corrects it, because God loves both of you.
Friends are a very special part of life. And when problems come up in friendships, it can hurt. But no matter what tough situation comes up, God can help you find answers.
... may Thy Word enrich
the affections of all mankind,
and govern them!
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)