You and I become like the people we hang with. The same thing is true concerning our children. Our kids become like whom they hang with. If they hang with kids who love the Lord they will love the Lord. The reverse is also true.
I have had parents say this to me, “I decide who my kids friends are”. The truth is you really can’t do this. You cannot make your kids like somebody.
At some point our children will begin to make their own choices about who their friends are. You will not always be there to make the choice for them. Wisdom dictates that we teach our kids how to hear the voice of God concerning their friendship choices.
Does God speak to kids about who their friends are?
If so, is it even possible to teach kids to hear the voice of God?
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16
Anyone who is born again has the Holy Spirit inside them including our children. When children receive Christ they don’t receive a junior Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says that Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit. I believe this is the most frequent way that God speaks to all of us. (Kids and adults alike.)
This is how I teach kids about the inward witness:
(Hold up a picture of a traffic light or put an image of a traffic light up on the screen and read the following scripture from the book of Romans.)
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
The inward witness is like an internal traffic light.
Let’s pretend that you meet a new kid a school. You are hanging out with him and he begins to tell some dirty jokes. Whenever you are hanging with this kid you get a yucky feeling on the inside. What is that? That’s the inward witness. It’s kind of like a red light telling you “no’. Don’t hang out with this kid. You are not mean to him or afraid of him, but he’s not one of your best friends.
Or, maybe you are at soccer practice and you meet a new friend. When you hang with her you get a good feeling. It’s what Anne of Green Gables would call a “kindred spirit”. What is that? That’s the inward witness, a green light telling you ‘yes’. This is a good friend.
You don’t have to wait until you grow up to get the inward witness. If you have received Christ, the Holy Spirit is inside you and helps you decide who your friends should be.
Other than the decision to receive Christ, the choices our kids make about friends are arguably the most important decisions they will make. Kids have no control over who their parents are or who their siblings are, but they do decide who their friends are. When we teach our kids how to hear the listen to the Holy Spirit we set them up to make wise friendship choices.