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amelia88

Are your children's friends from religious families?

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My child is only young so her main companions are her cousins and children of my long term friends. I'm wondering for those of you with children that are a bit older (school age) are your children's friends from religious families? Do you try and steer their friendships in that direction? Do their main friends attend the same church as you, perhaps?

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Well my child is not really old enough for him to have a group of friends yet, but he does have some little friends that he sees at church. I know that he will be involved in the church in as much as we are as he grows up, and he will be in Confirmation and all of that, so I am sure that he will make friends. I am guessing that the school he attends will also produce some friends, so lets just hope that they are the type of people that you might see in church.

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I raised my one and only child on a military base, he had a diverse group of friends. Because we held a strong faith in our home, communicated with him often about our beliefs, and stressed that not everyone believed the same way, we were able to give him the tools to engage with those that did not believe as he did. We also made sure that he attended youth group and had a good faith based circle of friends he could lean on. He is now a father himself and he has raised his daughters the same way I raised him. I believe by not restricting my son, and keeping the lines of communication constantly open, we made it possible for him to grow into an accepting, loving human being that sees God in all of us.

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My child is attending a private, co-ed school and though there is really no way I can limit the kind of friendships that he develops, I make sure that he learns what's right and wrong from home. I also motivate him to attend church activities beyond Sunday school and allow him to interact with the children of fellow churchgoers. It's important that he realizes for himself that other families and children are also living in the same Godly-way, that this way may not always jive with how other people live their lives, but this way is pleasing to God.

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I try not to restrict my daughter and instead I teach her about the value of all the different opinions and beliefs in this universe. She must always understand that our way is our way, but it isn't the only way. Others might be of a different view, and that is alright, and we can still live together in harmony. Our world is big enough to support all the diverse religions of all the different people and we don't have to judge or discriminate against anyone on the basis of their faith. I think I am doing a pretty good job teaching these values to my daughter and I hope that she understands that she can live a great life being who she is and believing what she chooses, while at the same time allowing others to be who they choose to be and to believe in what they want to believe.

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Most, if not all, of the kids my children interact with are in a setting where it is part of a structured, Church related, event. Which means they interact with kids of other Christian families. There are times when my wife will take them to a park where they will interact with kids of unknown spiritual background, which is fine. We do raise our kids to be blessings to everyone they come in contact with (including each other, which is a bit of a challenge at times). As they get older we will be working toward them being able to interact with people who obviously are unbelievers, so they can still be a blessing without that getting in the way.

 

Our church does a good job of preparing young people for when they get into situations (especially in secular colleges) where people can be opposed to Christianity, where they can still hold onto their faith despite what they may be exposed to.

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I raised my one and only child on a military base, he had a diverse group of friends. Because we held a strong faith in our home, communicated with him often about our beliefs, and stressed that not everyone believed the same way, we were able to give him the tools to engage with those that did not believe as he did. We also made sure that he attended youth group and had a good faith based circle of friends he could lean on. He is now a father himself and he has raised his daughters the same way I raised him. I believe by not restricting my son, and keeping the lines of communication constantly open, we made it possible for him to grow into an accepting, loving human being that sees God in all of us.

 

I think your take on it is beautiful - I think that is the route I want to go with my child, to provide a strong faith structure but also ensuring that there is that acceptance of others. It sounds like you did a wonderful job raising your son to be a tolerant, loving, God-seeing man - and it's so nice to hear that he is raising his daughters in that same way. Thank you for your insight!

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I actually think that there is a positive aspect for my children having a few friends who have different beliefs since it exposes him to other viewpoints that he would not otherwise encounter had they associated himself with people who had very similar beliefs. The Amish tend to be very homogeneous in their beliefs but the problem with that situation is that it resembles an 'echo chamber' in which your beliefs are constantly reinforced and you view people outside of the group with suspicion. Certainly Jesus went out of His way to meet with and talk to people who had different beliefs than Him and His disciples so I feel that is a great example for my family and others to emulate.

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