My heart rate quickened and I knew something was not right about this social media post. My mommy radar lit up. I texted my friend. Is everything okay with your girl? What is going on? Because of our friendship, my friend was aware of a situation with her child that might have gone unnoticed.
Another time the tables turned, and my phone dinged. I learned something distressing about my child. The silence was deafening. The urge to make excuses and blame was overwhelming. It took courage for the other mom to call me. I am thankful for her bravery because I can’t deal with things I don’t know. I pray often for God to bring things into the light in my children’s life.
God regularly answers my prayer through the courage of other parents.
While I am grateful for the friendships I have with other parents, they didn’t come easy to me. Some people make friends easily. I don’t. It took years to cultivate the deep friendships mentioned in the examples above. But it is important to do the hard work to build friendships with other parents because together we are better parents. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. Our children are facing complex issues never dealt with before. Parents need each other to offer encouragement and to navigate the world we live in.
Here are some tips to help you make friends with other parents at your child’s school:
- Make eye contact and say hello. So what if you should already know this person because their child has been in the same class with your high school senior since kindergarten? Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself again. If you don’t remember their name, they probably don’t remember you either. Too many times I have stood to the side and not engaged because I should know you, but I can’t remember your name. I’m sorry.
- Volunteer. Parent volunteers are the heartbeat of many school communities. Hot lunch. Field trips. Theater set building. Just do it. You won’t be sorry. There is something about slinging pizza, riding a bumpy hot bus, or wielding a hammer together that builds lasting friendships.
- Show up. Attend school events. Embrace the awkward. The friendships built at school events are worth the sacrifice.
- Pray with and for other parents. Prayer binds hearts together. If your school has a prayer meeting, go. If they don’t, start one. If praying with others is out of your comfort zone, send a prayer email or text to other parents. Prayer links us to God and each other like nothing else can.
- Don’t give up. Keep trying. Relationships build over time. Exhibit the grit you want to see in your children. The best friendships are marathons not sprints.
Parents, if you have friends, be grateful. If you don’t, go get some.