“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Toward the end of the 20th Century a change took place in our culture both collectively and individually. We left the individualistic, “It’s all about me,” mindset of the late 20th Century and entered into the social media explosion of the early 21st Century. Because of this shift, relationships have become a valuable commodity. In his best-selling book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam noted that in the last part of the 20th Century attendance at club meetings fell 58%, family dinners declined 33 %, and having friends visit went down by 45 %.
Social media has created the illusion of companionship while actually increasing the ability to be isolated. One can have hundreds of Facebook “friends” and tens of thousands of Twitter followers without one single deep friendship or meaningful relationship. Yet, everyone from coaches to business owners to politicians will say, “It’s all about relationships.”
If you are going to have a good family, you must have good family relationships. If you have a successful business it has to be built on relationships. The relational chemistry of a team can determine whether or not it wins a championship. Relationships will make you or break you. Even your eternal destiny depends upon having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the most important things parents will ever teach their children is how to find and build meaningful relationships. Proverbs 18:24 reminds us of the importance of a true friend. Jesus never meant for His disciples to walk this life alone. We need one another. The love, encouragement, counsel, and prayers of trusted, like-minded friends are a necessary part of life for every Christ follower. Now, more than ever, we must be teaching the next generation to put down the phone and connect with one another.
Dear Father, I want my children to have fulfilling, meaningful relationships. Help me not only to teach them how to do that, but help me to model that for them as well. In Jesus' name, amen.