Dorothy had been friends with these other children for years, since preschool. I don’t know how they came to be friends but let me state emphatically to you younger mommies something you can learn from me firsthand:
YOU MUST PICK YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS.
When they go to nursery school, do not simply drop them off and hope for the best. You must make it your business to volunteer, attend every social opportunity at those young ages and seek out like-minded parents and recruit their children as your child’s social circle. Four and five year olds are not well known for their discernment. That is your job. When Daly Kay went to school she “made friends” with the exact people I had plotted out. She was nice to everyone, but her little circle of buddies were parents I had the most in common with faith and values wise.
Secondly, when it became apparent a couple years back that the social circle Dorothy had made friends with were antagonistic to her faith and the values-based decisions she was making contrary to their polls of popular opinion…the heat got turned up. Mocking and scorning began. When her parents tried to direct her towards making new friends and breaking away from this group, Dorothy stated that “Jesus didn’t go to the easy to minister to, he went to the broken and difficult.”
Which is true.
DOROTHY ISN’T JESUS.
Jesus wasa 30 year old man who had memorized the Old Testament. Jesus didn’t mix it up with the kids in Temple school. In fact, the only time we see Him away from His family growing up is when He gets left behind in the Temple and is discussing matters of theology with the heads of the religious leadership. Not the local 8th grade knuckleheads.
Now, I know what I am writing is going to ruffle my school-sending readership. Please, don’t get me wrong. I think your child in school has tremendous opportunity to influence and bring people to Christ by shining their light in school or on their sports teams. But the model of letting Dorothy continue to hash it out and try to make these friendships work is antagonistic to her health, her academic abilities and truthfully will NOT work ministry wise.
In Mark ch.5 and Luke ch.8, when Jesus evicts demons out of a man who was CRAZY and living among the tombs, His message was not received by the town of Gerasenes. In fact, Jesus left at the request of the town’s people. No further miracles or healings would happen there. Jesus simply moved on. Time passes and we see that eventually, the entire region of Decapolis came out to hear Jesus because of the testimony of the previously afflicted man who, over time, won them over with the obvious change in his life.
In general, I believe kids in a school setting must befriend children in their grade who are as like-minded as possible. Then as they age they should use their influence to encourage and lead those YOUNGER than them. In a school setting, we all know that if you are older, you are cooler. Your child should be insulated by likeminded friends in their grade and then go on to strengthen and encourage those around them who are underclassmen. There are the rare leaders in a class who have an inner magnitude that can incite masses to follow them…but those children are the exception and not the rule.
*Your child can not be expected and/ or should not have the false sense of security that he/she can go into a peer group and ALONE influence the entire peer group to Christ. Even Jesus sent the disciples out two by two!
My best guess is that these tough chicks Dorothy is facing will simply not receive her message of love and friendship until she moves on and they see something in her life (over time) that they want. Maybe by the end of high school. Maybe after college. Maybe when, years from now, Dorothy’s life reflects Christ in such a way that these former antagonists simply must reach out to her in desperation and seek the love of a forgiving God.
How do I know?
I cannot TELL YOU how many of those mean chicks (from my own upbringing) have reached out to me over the past decade. It may have taken 20 years (or more) for them to see the reality of Jesus in my life. But they see it now.