It’s hard to see a good family friend or loved one stray from the things you both know and believe. Things inevitably end up changing. The relationships become different and sometimes strained. However, you still want to stay close to them. How is that to be achieved? And, how do you break it to the children without them thinking these good people are not so good?
I was asked a question a while back about this (listen to audio clip below!). This family had experienced this with almost all of their good family friends (10 families, to be exact) and it was really hard for them. These families had children the same age as their own and they were close. They were unsure how to proceed with the relationships they had built up with these families. And especially unsure as to how to help the children with this transition. They were now uncomfortable leaving their children with these families without one of them (the parents) being there. The question washow do you make/maintain friendships when your core beliefs differ-particularly when you used to share the same core beliefs/values?
If you’re in this sort of situation, this is what I would do:
You must love your friends and show kindness. You must talk to them as the Spirit dictates but you must not allow yourself to ever rationalize things you know are not right or true because of your social connection to those friends.
Venom will not heal them. Do not try to talk them out of things. Honey is sweet and healing. Your love and kindness is the best way to teach them the truths you believe. Didn’t Christ say, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword?” Don’t fight them, even if they fight against things you hold dear.
Of course you want to teach your children to be kind to everyone they know. But, you will want to find new friends who your whole family can relate to. You need a support system. It will strengthen your family. Spend most of your time with your friends who have similar morals. But, continue to spend some time with the friends who you now find so different and even “dark” sometimes. Pre-teach before play and don’t set aside all your time to play with them.
Most importantly, develop a strong family culture. That will be the most vital thing you can do. Schedule family time and activities and have them be only for family a lot. Be busy so that you can break from your current social and deliberately plan a new one.
Over time I think you will see more and more people become confused about their beliefs. This is why you must develop your family culture first and foremost. It will protect your family from confusion too.