Lead article from the November 2016 bulletin, online now.
I’ve watched as my daughter has grown up and how some of her very best friends as a little girl have disappeared completely from her social circle. It’s interesting because, with some, I could see the conflicting personalities at a young age while there are others who came as a surprise. As she gets closer to leaving our home and venturing out on her own, my wife and I have some very interesting conversations on what advice we can still give to her. The topic of friends came up recently, and it really got me thinking about the role they play in our lives.
As a kid your friendships are built around what you did in the past and what you are doing now. You met your friend because you had something in common (you lived close, were in the same class, your parents knew each other, etc.). These friendships can last for a long time but eventually if you don’t have the same outlook for the future those friendships start to dwindle. When you start thinking about the person you want to be, we find that certain friends no longer have so much in common with us. Personally I find it hard to maintain many of the friendships from my life prior to becoming a faithful man. It’s nice to reconnect with an old friend and reminisce about the past, but it quickly becomes obvious that our friendship is only tied to the past, and we are more different then we are alike. Those friendships never go away, but they aren’t the ones that drive you to be a better person. The friendships you truly value are those that share the same values as you and help you be the person you want to be. Those friends for me are the ones I’ve developed through the church. We have different pasts and do different things in the present but we share the same ultimate goal in life. That goal is to get ourselves and our families into Heaven. These are friends I can ask for advice on anything and know that if I ever needed them they would be there to support me. If life sent us to different ends of the world I know that those friendships would not go away.
So my advice to my daughter is to always maintain faith-based friendships no matter where life takes you. Other friends are great and very important but those friendships created around your faith will always hold you up and never let you forget about your true goal in life.