All people, young and old, are designed for friendship. You’ve probably experienced good friendships, and you may also know what it feels like to feel left out or disconnected from friends. With the past year and a half of remote and hybrid learning, students around the country have felt more lonely and disconnected from their friends.
- What challenges have you faced in friendships over the past year and a half? (Accept all reasonable responses.)
- How have you stayed connected with friends and family? (Accept all reasonable responses.)
If time allows, you can share some of the testimonies from this article:
What Students Are Saying About Socially-Distant Friendships, School Accountability and Lessons From Animals
When you’re finished, discuss the following questions with your class:
- Think back to when you were in in elementary school. Was it easier or harder to make friends than in middle school? (Let students share their insights. Some might say that elementary school is harder because kids are less mature, but others might say that middle school is full of more jealousy, drama, and alliances.)
- Do you think it’s hard for kids your age to reach out to others—especially if they’re different? Why or why not? (Kids are naturally cautious about new people. They want to be liked, and they worry about which friendships feel safe and nurturing.)
- What strategies could work for making and building friendships in middle school? (Let students discuss other ways that their teachers or parents have tried to foster friendships in middle school.)
- What is more valuable? A dozen or more friends—or just a few close ones? (Students will probably share the importance of one or two close friends. Having many friends, especially through social media alone, doesn’t guarantee closeness or loyalty.)
The Bible teaches us about God’s design for human interaction and friendship. Let’s take a look at some good instructions that will help us nurture healthy relationships with others. It’s how God made us!