Friendship is a loving relationship between two people. Friends respect each other, care about each other, remain true to each other, and overlook and forgive each other’s faults. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be friends to all his children.
Ask your family to listen for some qualities of a true friend as you tell the following incident:
Bill was approached by some kids he knew at school. They were angry, because Jim, a member of the group, said Bill had pushed Jim’s brother into the park pond that morning. Bill had not been near the pond.
At this tense moment, Bill saw his friend John walking toward him. He was excited to see John because he had been with John all morning. John could prove his innocence. As John came nearer, the other boys threatened him, but he kept coming. He stood up for Bill and finally convinced the others that he was innocent; they were accusing the wrong man.
What qualities of friendship were displayed by John?
Read and discuss the description of the friendship of Jonathan, a son of King Saul, and David, the shepherd boy, in 1 Samuel 18:1–4. Ask your family to describe a true friend by completing the sentence “A true friend is a person who __________.” Compare the answers with the gospel truth at the beginning of this lesson.
Help your family understand that as we truly love others, we become their friends. Discuss the difference this could make in our home, our neighborhood, the Church, our nation, and even the world. Read what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about this:
“Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’; [it is designed] to revolutionize and civilize the world, and cause wars and contentions to cease and men to become friends and brothers” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 316).
You might set a goal for each family member to try to be a loving friend to his family and associates during the entire week (or even just one day) and then evaluate the results.
Tell your family that there is a secret to having a friend. Have them listen to the following experiences of Sister Dwan J. Young, general Primary president, to discover what this secret is:
“As I grew older and developed friendships in my neighborhood, I found I had to be a friend in order to have a friend. … It took time to show my friends I really loved them. Sometimes just listening to them was what they needed. A call to invite them over to play a game made them happy. I learned I had to do my part in order for friendship to grow.
“At school there were many opportunities to be a good friend. I remember how hard it was when I was not chosen to be one of the first in the class on a baseball team or for some other activity. That experience reminded me that when I had a chance to choose, I should look for those who needed a turn.
“A good time to be friendly was when new students joined the class. I found that by helping them feel welcome and happy, I was happy too.” (“Friend to Friend,” Friend, May 1982, p. 7.)
Discuss the secret: to have a friend, you must be one.
List on slips of paper ways to make and keep friends:
Learn to love them.
Include someone who is feeling left out.
Be interested in what others are doing.
Say good things about others.
Share with others.
Invite others to do something with you.
Also list ways not to make and keep friends:
Buy friendship by giving treats and expensive gifts.
Lie about others so you will seem to be the only worthwhile friend to have.
Give false praise.
Threaten to desert your friend if he won’t agree with you.
Don’t be a friend to persons you don’t like.
You could display the good ways on a poster entitled “Being a True Friend.” Encourage each family member to plan ways he can become a better friend.
Ask your family to listen to what was wrong in the following story: Two boys were delivering newspapers on their bicycles. One of the bicycles hit a rock, and the boy flew off the bike in one direction and the newspapers in another. The second boy rode up laughing and teasing. As a neighbor came to the first boy’s assistance, the second boy rode on down the street.
Seeing the boy’s pride was hurt more than his body, the neighbor said, “It’s kind of a low blow to have your friend laugh when you’ve had a bad spill, isn’t it?” As the boy packed the newspapers back in place, he replied, “He isn’t my friend—he’s my brother.” (See Marvin J. Ashton, in Conference Report, Oct. 1969, p. 28; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1969, p. 51.)
What was wrong? (The brother should have been a friend and shown love for his brother.)
Discuss why every family member should be a true friend to every other member.
Talk about what can happen in your home if family members practice being friends to each other. Ask each to tell of a time when he has felt one of the family was his true friend. Refer to the poster in the second lesson idea above, and decide ways you can be better friends to one another.
Discuss the importance of standing for what you believe when friends want you to do something wrong. Talk about how difficult peer pressure can be, but assure each family member he has the capacity to influence his friends for good and be a strong example to them. Tell the following true story:
The parents of one family were concerned about a new friend their children had made in the neighborhood. The boy was not a member of the Church and did not have the same standards of speech and behavior.
In family home evening one night, they talked about the importance of showing this boy their way of living, rather than adopting his way. They welcomed him into their home to play and share in family activities.
Soon other neighbors invited the boy into their homes also, and he grew up in a neighborhood of love and kindness. He eventually joined the Church, but, during his growing up years, he received the love, friendship, and example that he, as a child of God, needed and deserved.
Encourage family members to speak freely of problems they may face in being true to their standards and still keeping friends. Let each one know he has the love and support of the family. Parents could tell of their concern and their prayers for each child. Discuss how prayer can help strengthen each family member and give him the courage to do what he knows is right.
Proverbs 17:17 (A friend’s love doesn’t end.)
Matthew 7:12 (The Golden Rule.)
1 Corinthians 12:26 (Suffer and rejoice together.)
Doctrine and Covenants 4:6 (Remember brotherly kindness.)
“Jesus Said Love Everyone,” Children’s Songbook, p. 61.
See also other topics in this section entitled “Forgiving” and “Selfishness,” and “Loving Our Neighbors,” lesson 23 in the “Lessons” section of this manual.
“True Friendship,” on the Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276).
“True Friends Help You Keep the Commandments,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).