As Jesus was walking by two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.”
The biggest problem with parents is not that they don’t know their kids friends; but rather, they don’t know their kids! Parents always want their kids to have good friends. They want administrators in schools to pair up their child with their best friend. They are as happy as can be when they have recreation together, lunch together and homeroom together. For some strange reason, they think that this will make their child a better child, a healthier child, a stronger child. I think it is a big mistake!
If I could change one thing I did in school, I would change not my school but my friends. A school of fish is very similar to a school of friends. My friends and I tended to follow each other everywhere. We stuck together through thick and thin, and that was our biggest mistake! When one got in trouble, I felt obliged to do the same thing. When my best friend, my cousin, scraped his knee and ripped his pants, I actually did the same thing so that the two of us would get into trouble – together! How ridiculous! How true!
Let’s set aside for a moment the nostalgia of these long lost days. Friends do not help friends. Friends tend to hide their friends problems. Friends tend to consider their friendship above the truth. So often, young people come up to me and ask me what they should do if their friends are involved in drugs and alcohol. It seems as though friendship is above common sense! “Father, my friend has an eating disorder and won’t tell her parents. I’m afraid that if I say something, she will hate me!” I reply, “So, you would prefer a dead friend over an angry friend?” It would appear as if friendship is now above family, love and life!
Who is to blame? Parents! Yes, parents! They allow their children to spend more time with their friends than with their siblings. Why? Because it is easier! “Father, when my child comes home from school she goes to her room, closes the door and only comes out for meals.” Or, “Father, when my child comes home he is immediately on his phone, texting his friends or playing video games.” Or, “My child has no free time…he goes from school to sports to Sammy’s house!” How long will it take for parents to realize that the only reason why their kids have nothing to talk about after school is because their kids tell their friends and not their parents! I would plead with the Principal of my school not to have my child in a classroom full of her friends. School is for learning, not for laughing! I want him/her to learn how to make friends with enemies and how to turn enemies into friends. I would make sure that my kid had a ton of things to talk about with me. They would come home and we would talk about how Sally is a big gossiper or liar, or how Nathan is so spoiled and never likes sharing! Then I would say, “Now you know why mommy and daddy never give you everything you want!” Lesson learned!
If I were a parent, the only sleepovers I would allow are the ones that are for sure to end up in an argument! I would have my cell phone handy, waiting for my daughter’s text begging me to pick her up immediately! Mission accomplished.
Kids are not stupid when they are young. They see everything black and white. But they lose their common sense because parents often confuse them. Too often, parents do not help their kids to reach out to new kids. They get comfortable with the old guard and in so doing, let their guard down.
It appears as though Christ was fond of fishermen. He saw something in their occupation and He tied it in with His: If they could catch all types of fish, then they could catch all types of people. No wonder the first Apostles were former fishermen and gladly accepted the invitation to be fisher’s of men!
I never imaged that friends and fish would have so much in common.