This morning, I watched two boys tumble out of the backseat of my car and scramble towards the school. Their backpacks bounced wildly as they ran and playfully shoved each other off the sidewalk. I couldn’t hear them, but I knew that they were giggling and calling each other out with mock indignation, “Duuude!?”
Since the day I knew I was pregnant, I have prayed for many things for my child, but my constant prayer has been that he would be blessed with a good friend. As I watched the two boys disappear around the corner, I sensed that for this season at least, my prayer had been answered.
When I say “a good friend” I don’t mean someone who enjoys the same things he does or someone who will reciprocate play dates. What I want for Sean is a friend who possesses the Biblical quality of goodness – a good friend. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A good friend loves at all times” and a friend who loves at all times does not let his buddy do something that would make his mommy sad.
And in Bryan, Sean’s BFF for this season (or dare I even hope, for life?) I see a boy who has the fruit of goodness growing in him.
Not long ago, Bryan was over to play and Sean was being a real toot. When I took Bryan home, I told him I was sorry that Sean had not been very nice to him and he said – and this blew me away – “That’s okay, he’s probably just tired.”
Grace and goodness – what more could you want in a friend?
Bryan’s mother tells me he has his days too (who doesn’t?) but on the whole, I see in him an innate desire to do what is good and right. He is a boy who is cautious and doesn’t like getting in trouble and Sean needs someone like that to temper his sometimes dramatic free-spiritedness.
I know that with each passing year, the influence of the world will increase in his life and my influence will decrease. I know that the company he keeps will influence the choices he makes. I know that the stakes only get higher as his world gets bigger. The people he chooses to partner with in friendships along the way will have a hand in writing the story of his life.
I know that the time is coming when I will have to lengthen the rope, to let him go with his friends (clear out of my sight!) and in letting him go, he will encounter choices to go left or right. And I think the best I can hope for is that he will have at least one good friend who will hold him accountable, who is willing to challenge a questionable choice or at least speak up and say, “Dude. Maybe you shouldn’t do that…”
At some point in life, one has (hopefully) developed some wisdom and discernment, and friends of all sorts is a good thing; I think we are called to that. But for a nine-year-old who has yet to fully develop those traits — right now he needs, and has, a good friend.
And that is an answered prayer.