Making friends – starting young to be gracious

By | March 30, 2017 6:58 am

Last Updated: March 30, 2017 at 7:03 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

Are we ever too young to start making friends? If there is a magic age for beginning the process of being friendly, I passed that number a lifetime ago. You might say I’m “way yonder” past it. In my senior year of high school, I was voted “Most Friendly.” By 12th grade, I had already been turned that way for about 17 years, I suppose. Now, in my senior years of life, I still enjoy people.

Anyway, my precious granddaughter, Katie Grace, must have inherited some   of my friendly genes – by way of her mother. At the ripe old age of three-and-a-half, K.G. is already Miss Congeniality. By the way, she is also so stinking cute, just like all of our grandchildren.

Shannon reported to us that for the past few weeks, K.G. has been asking everyone she sees, “What’s YOUR name?”

Recently, Katie took her mom and dad to dinner. When the waitress came to their table, K.G. immediately asked her what her name was. That came as no surprise. The waitress responded, then asked the same question of our granddaughter.

Her enthusiastic reply was, “I’m Katie Grace!” Then, with extravagant gestures toward her daddy, then her mommy, she added, “And this is Justin…and this is Shannon.”

At three-and-a-half, she is not only friendly, she is quite the little Southern lady. She may have inherited friendly genes from her papa, but I’ll hastily confess that she got her Southern lady genes from her Nahnee. There may not be DNA for “Southern lady;” however, always the gracious one, Sammie models it for her children and grandchildren.

In certain scenarios it may be unwise for young children to be overly friendly, but we are never too young to learn how to be gracious. And although parental discretion is wise, children can begin being friendly at a very early age, when it is appropriate.

Scripture tells us that to have friends we must be friendly, but some of those “friends” may not be real friends. Certainly, being a true friend is more important than merely being friendly. The verse in Proverbs that says we gain friends by being friendly also suggests that one can have too many friends. The rest of the story is, however, that there is always a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

As far as being gracious goes, we can never overdo that. Jesus made the point, repeatedly, that we should be kind to everyone; love even our enemies; return good for evil; show love to the most unlovely, even to the point of “turning the other cheek.’

Sometimes it seems that being kind…and friendly…comes natural for innocent children. Those precious little ones, like our granddaughter, make it look so easy. As we get older, we may become jaded and cynical due to world-wearying experiences.

How many real friends do you think you have? How many of your acquaintances would consider you a true friend? Although those close friends that are always there – stuck like glue –may be few and far between, there is One whom you and I can always count on. That Friend that sticks closer than a brother is Jesus Himself. Even when others turn their backs on us, He will never leave us.

One final thought. It was so sweet when Katie Grace introduced her parents to her new friend, the waitress. Introducing our friends to our Heavenly Father and closest Friend is even more important, and by modeling the Christ-life before others we are able to make that introduction.

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