I grew up in a large family of two parents and six boys. As the youngest, I always had someone with me for talking, playing, and sharing. We had our share of fights, but we also had the bonds that only brothers can have. We shared common interests for most of our childhood, but we as we grew and parted for our own lives, families, and careers, our interests changed. My parents and one brother have passed on, but we five brothers are still a close family. I want the same for my son, but as an only child, he does not have that luxury. Therefore, my wife and I find it doubly important that our son choose the right friends that live up to our expectations.
My wife and I work very hard to instill in our son the same morals and values that our parents taught us. We want him to care about others and make friends that will truly care for him. So many people become friendly acquaintances, but when needed, they bail. It has happened to all of us. For us, a good friend means someone who will talk, listen, and help whenever possible without expecting things in return in addition top having clean fun together. We teach our son to treat others according to the Golden Rule – the way he wants others to treat him.
We also want our son to choose friends who are not afraid to tell him when he does something wrong. Strong friendship includes accountability. We want him to form friendships with those who will try to do right in all situations, including honesty when wrong.
Work hard in school
Although we understand that we cannot make all kids do what we want our son to do, we want our son to make friends with those who work hard in school. To us, working hard in school translates to working hard on non-school activities as well. True, this does not happen every time, but we have noticed it with the kids that we both teach. Those who work hard in class tend to succeed in sports, band, part-time jobs, and personal responsibility. We want our son and his friends to influence each other to study hard and encourage each other in their various activities. He and his friends compete with each other for the best grades, which means they will all push each other to work harder. They also love to brag about how well they did in last weekend’s sports, so they have to practice hard and obey their coaches as well as their parents and teachers.
Make wise decisions
We have already talked to our son multiple times about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, and we will continue those talks and others as they become more crucial to him. We want him to choose friends who have the same opinions about those topics so they will help each other avoid them. Far too often, kids will tease or even bully each other into taking part in these poor and dangerous activities. If anyone tries to do that with our son, we want, hope, and pray that he will remember our teachings and disassociate from them at once. Even for something as simple as copying answers on homework assignments can lead to larger poor decisions. So far, he has said no to anything that goes against our teachings.
For some, these matters may seem harsh or even extreme, but my wife and I elect to teach our son the same values that our parents taught us. Ultimately, he will venture into adulthood and make all of his own decisions. We can advise him even as an adult, but he will make the final call. So far, our son has made great friends — especially his very best friend — who adhere to all of our values. We pray that our teachings will grow with him into adulthood, and he will continue to make and keep friends that adhere to what we pray will become his own values.
More from this contributor:
Letting Our Son Help Make Some Family Decisions
Spending Time with Our Son: Dad’s Perspective
Setting Strong Positive Examples for Our Son