Among the most important childrens Bible lessons is learning what Solomon had to say about friendship.
In fact, Solomon, the author of Proverbs, has a lot to say about friendship. He was a famous and rich man. Yet, like the unknown poor man, he needed friends to whom he could turn for companionship.
Someone once said that friendship is the universal need among all people — whether rich or poor, male or female, black or white. God made humans with a built-in need for companionship.
The Book of Proverbs provides us with rich insights for making our friendships as fulfilling and meaningful as possible within the confines of a fallen world. As a teaching tool, you might ask your child the questions below, based on the Book of Proverbs. You might also provide some illustrations of each point from your own life.
People To Avoid:
• Why do you think Solomon said not to make friends with hot-tempered people (Proverbs 22:24)?
• Why do you think Solomon said to keep your distance from people who gossip too much (Proverbs 20:19)?
• Why do you think Solomon said not to befriend people who are dishonest (Proverbs 26:18-19)?
• Why do you think Solomon said not to make friends with people who have too much pride, or think too highly of themselves (Proverbs 13:10)?
People To Seek Out:
• Why do you think Solomon said to make friends with righteous people (Proverbs 2:20; 12:26)?
• Why do you think Solomon said to make friends with people who show love in their words and actions (Proverbs 17:9)?
• Why do you think Solomon said to make friends with people who avoid strife and division (Proverbs 20:3)?
General Principles on Friendship:
Here are still further questions you can raise with your children. After asking them, see if both of you can come up with principles of friendship based on the questions:
• Why do you think Solomon said that no matter who you make friends with, don’t overstay your welcome (Proverbs 25:17)?
• Why do you think Solomon said to let love and faithfulness characterize all your friendships (Proverbs 3:3-4)?
• Why do you think Solomon said to maintain a good reputation in all your relationships (Proverbs 22:1)?
Monitoring Your Child’s Relationships
It’s in your child’s best interest to monitor his or her relationships. How can you do this? Here are three quick suggestions.
• First, make your house a fun place so your child’s friends will want to come over and spend lots of time there. Make your home a “hangout.” This way you can monitor things. Have plenty of games and fun things around. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are always a big draw!
• Second, involve your child in a church youth group so they’ll meet some Christian friends with similar interests.
• Third, stay in contact with your child’s teacher. Often your teacher can keep you informed not only in regard to the kinds of friends your child hangs around with but can also give you an understanding of your child’s social interaction skills on the school campus.
 These tips are loosely based on Susan Yates, “When You Don’t Like Your Kid’s Friends,” Today’s Christian Woman, 1996.
— Dr. Ron Rhodes