One thing I love about my son is his welcoming, friendly personality. No matter where we go, Jaden always attracts attention and is willing to share a wave and “hi” to strangers.
A couple of weekends ago we went to a birthday party and being his friendly self, Jaden tried to talk to and play with some kids who were older than him. He said hi and tried to play in an area of the indoor playground with him, but the kids either stared at him, ignored him, or flat-out said he couldn’t play with them. Later that day, we went to a park and Jaden tried to engage with a little girl, but she simply ignored him. Outside of daycare and church, we haven’t really been in many environments with Jaden where we actually observed him trying to interact with other kids, so this was new territory for us. I wrestled with several thoughts: Do I politely ask the kids to let him play? Or do I redirect Jaden to another area? Of course, Jaden didn’t really understand what was happening, he just knew he wanted to play.
Reflecting on these situations made me wonder, is my child too friendly? Is it bad that he will talk to almost anyone? Do we stop him from talking to people he doesn’t know? And worse, as he gets older, will his friendliness be met with rejection more than acceptance?
I can’t lie, my heart aches a little at the thought of my baby boy ever being faced with rejection. I know it’s silly to think that he won’t ever experience that, but as his mom I want to protect him. I know I won’t be able to, but that’s just how I feel.
To answer my initial question, do I think my child is too friendly? No, I don’t think he is. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to stop Jaden from waving and saying hi to people he doesn’t know. As he gets older we will definitely teach him about the importance of not going with strangers or how to deal with uncomfortable situations, but I think his friendliness has the power to do more good than harm. I like to think that this is his gift from the Lord and I refuse to hinder that. I’m reminded of this Bible verses as I write:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10
Jaden was created by God for a purpose. It may not be 100% clear what that purpose is yet, but I know that his friendliness is part of that. Even at just a year old, it’s amazing to see the faces of people we encounter when they see him. People gravitate towards him and he has the ability to bring the biggest smile out of people when he looks at them and says “hi”. Honestly, I think his friendliness has rubbed off on me. He’s made me more apt to smile at people and be more polite. I look forward to watching how the Lord uses this aspect of my baby boy’s personality as he grows up.
What qualities do you see in your child? What do you love the most about their personality?