Encouraging Positive Peer Relationships
It is true in life that we grow to be like our friends. Therefore, the more time we spend with our friends the more we will be influenced by their values and the actions that result. It is also true in life that we cannot choose our children’s friends. However, there are some things that parents and mentors can do to help each child and young person in the choices they make about friends.
As children grow in age the influence and importance of the peer group becomes more dominant often at the expense of parental influence. This underlines the importance of creating positive peer environments for our children.
Why is a positive peer community so important in the faith formation process? Here are 3 reasons….
- “Three strands together are strong” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
- One result is a reduction in negative behaviours and an increase in well-being
- As humans we gravitate to people of like-minded passion
Mentoring and Support
Imagine a young child sitting alone in their bedroom at night reading the story of Samson slaughtering 1000 Philistines with the jaw bone of an ass. Or a young person reading about Ananias and Sapphira dropping dead because they were a little too liberal with the truth. Or a new adult Christian reading about God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. We all need someone to talk with about these stories so as to help our understanding of God and His character in the light of these stories.
While some may have the benefit of a Christian’s mentors who may be able to process this, many do not. One of the major reasons why young people choose to leave the church is because their questions about life and faith have not been answered. Life is not meant to be journeyed alone but together in community.