In high school, I had school friends, a church friend and a dear neighbor. If we hadn’t been neighbors, our lives would not have intersected. We didn’t have anything in common except location. But I was so thankful for Dori. Somehow, having a friend who wasn’t part of the different dramas in my life helped to keep me balanced. I could talk. She could listen. She would pet sit. I would listen. I could meet her friends and share opinions or I could sneak one of my boyfriends over to her house (which I did once). We had more sleepovers than I can count.
I can’t remember the book where I read the wisdom for today. That is how wisdom works sometimes. It sticks in your brain when the other details fall away. Give your daughter friends in multiple places.
Being a tween or teen comes with friendship pitfalls. Ensuring that your daughter connects in a meaningful way with girls from different places will bolster her confidence. Friendships that aren’t school based don’t tend to have as much drama as friendships with a neighbor or a girl in dance class. Plus if things go sour for the week with one group of friends, there are still other girls who want to hang out with your daughter.
In our church body, the closest kid is 7 years younger than Bird–a lifetime in kid years. And my girls attend public school. I knew my oldest daughter needed friends from outside school who came from families that loved the Lord. My motivation was partly selfish. I wanted Bird to know other girls who’s parents made them memorize scripture, limited video game time, and had high modesty standards (High pitched refrains of “Mom, why are we so weird?” were becoming frequent).
Bird had tons of school friend drama, not-so-strong connections with soccer team girls, and a couple good neighborhood friends. I wanted to introduce her to a group of girls her age she didn’t already know. So last summer, the Girls Club began. We used our super cool treehouse as a meeting place and I led the girls through Bible Studies, crafts and games. The 5 girls attended three different schools and had a wide variety of interests. That group doesn’t function without issues, but now Bird’s possibilities of friends to talk with is expanded and she knows we aren’t the only ones who are weird.
Inviting daughters from 4 other families to be in a club took more bravery than I wanted it to. But Bird gained new friends. I saw the girls grow in faith and now, though I don’t see them often, I feel like I have more daughters. The families of these girls feel blessed to have another speaking truth into her life. Really, my goal of gaining friends for my girl spread blessings to my girl, myself, and the families of others. Praying that God will duplicate a club for my youngest when the time comes.
Helping your daughter make friends from different circles requires opening your house and helping girls connect. It is intentional and time consuming. But she won’t be the only one to reap the benefits.