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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Where is the "friend" store???

There are thousands of people across this country that feel lonely and afraid. Many of them have legitimate reasons for their feelings. They are ignored and shunned by the younger crowd or they are snubbed because they don't wear the right clothes. They often ask, "Where is the friend store? I need a good friend."

There is an art to making and finding good friends. The principle of making good friends should be taught from the time our children can speak or walk. We all need the touch and the love of people outside our family circle. When Jamie and Amie were born there was a sign on the hospital nursery window, "Children are born with a need for love and they never outgrow it."

Since the need for love will always be with your children, teaching them how to make friends will enrich their lives forever. And for all the children out there - it's a two way street. Don't forget about your parents just because they've retired. They still need your love every day as well. Call them, get together and let them know you love them. Shame on you if you put them in a home and "forget" to drop by or neglect them for weeks on end.

To research this subject so you can properly teach it to your children, I recommend a wonderful book. My Dad made me read it three times. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie is an excellence resource. To help teach your children the subject, you might want to pick up How to win Friends and Influence people for Teen Girls by Donna Dale Carnegie. She brings the topic down to a fun level where teens can relate and enjoy finding new ways to communicate.

For now, here's a few suggestions:

1. Join a club or church that agrees with your lifestyle, faith, age or hobbies. If you don't like what's going on, you'll come off as argumentative and before you know it you'll be sitting alone. Pick a group that you can agree with.

2. Focus on others. Don't talk about yourself even when you're given the floor. Try to find out as much as you can about others, their likes, dislikes and beliefs. After you've made "good" friends they will make it a point to learn about you.

3. Remember that a huge part of finding friends is learning how to be a good friend. Having friends is a costly job. There are certain things you will need to do.

  • Remember birthdays and special events.
  • Be present in their lives. Call them often and meet them for a meal.
  • Take an interest in their families, what's going on at work and after work fun.
  • Be willing to help them with problems, work, or other needs.
  • Be willing to drop what you are doing and be there for tragedies or whenever they need a hug.
  • Be willing to forgive when they let you down.
  • Love them as Christ first loved you.

Remember also that there are times when you need to walk away from a friend. If they become possessive, controlling or hurtful - you might need to walk away. Just be sure their pain isn't a result of your negligence.

Last Monday - Labor Day - we spent time with our good friends Gary and Viki Huff. I spent most of the morning making the best peach pie ever !!! As Guy Fieri the food network chef would say - I also made some "killer" peach ice cream. I was on my feet from around 9am until 3pm making the deserts, scratch mashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes, biscuits and getting the chicken ready.

When we arrived at Viki's she had been cooking as well. She had fried squash, fried okra, sweet tea, corn on the cob, southern milk gravy and southern cornbread. Yep, you got it. We were planning a supper good enough to send you to cholesterol heaven. With five people bustling in the kitchen, it got hot real quick. We finally sat down and giggled our way through the meal.

At the end of the day my feet hurt, my joints were sore and my cholesterol was up. All of us had worked part of our day. But...we had friends.

I've listened when people say, "Oh that's too much trouble or I just don't have time." They fuss about being lonely but have decided the work isn't worth the friendship. When we left the Huffs we all had a satisfaction that one can only enjoy when you've been in the presence of friends. Sure we were tired, but we had friends.

I hope that no matter how old I get I'll be able to do my part to get involved with my friends. Do yourself a favor. Don't worry about the "friend" store where you can customize the perfect friend. Get involved and love the people around you. You will be blessed by their warmth and their love.

God loves you,


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