Friends with Straight Faces

I ate dinner at church last night. It was Vacation Bible School so the room was packed. Kids were everywhere. But there was one kid that really stuck out.

It was my son. I watched as he came out of the kitchen with a plate full of food. He walked all around the room but couldn’t find a place to sit. I wanted to call him over to sit with me but I didn’t. Instead I just watched. My heart sank when he finally found a table and sat down. All alone.

Seconds later the table was full. Some of the kids I had never seen before and some were his long time friends. It made me start thinking about the friends my sons will grow up with. It made me hope that they have friends like mine.

Friends like Jared that make them laugh. Jared was sitting across from me in the first grade when I wrote my first love letter to a girl at our table. She frowned and handed the note back to me because I spelled the word love wrong. Jared laughed. That girl went on to become a devil worshipper. Grammar can be overrated. Friends aren’t.

I also hope that my boys find friends that don’t laugh at their jokes. That sounds simple enough. If you don’t want people to laugh at your jokes all you have to do is become a Southern Baptist pastor. But this is deeper.

One time I told a joke to my friend Keith. It was a bad joke. Not unfunny bad. Unholy bad. Keith didn’t laugh. Instead, he pulled me to the side and told me that he was disappointed in me. I was probably 14-years-old then but I still remember that conversation. It helps me every day.

Several years later I still hadn’t learned my lesson. I was talking to my friend Gerald before church and I told him another bad joke. Unholy bad. He didn’t laugh either. I still remember his words.

“You can do better than that.”

I never stop hearing that phrase.

I hope that my kids have friends that make them laugh.

But I also hope that they find friends who love them enough to keep a straight face.

Friends who care enough to push them on to something better.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or her will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.  Proverbs 9:8 (ESV)