There is a reason that our childhood is referred to as our formative years. Although we grow physically during this time, it is not just our bodies that are taking form. Our personality and our character begin to take shape as well. It is during this time that what is right and what is wrong begins to take shape in our minds, in our hearts, and in our lives.
Some of this formation is intentional. The adults in our lives teach us right from wrong, and I was fortunate during this time to have adults of sound moral character speaking into my life — intentionally informing and forming the person that I was becoming. Much, however, of what forms us during this time is learned unintentionally — by observation and mimicking of what we see around us.
Because of this, many times the greatest “formers” of our character are our friends.
I was fortunate to have many childhood friends. I would be remiss to try to thank them all by name, but they all deserve my thanks. But my first friend, the person who formed what the concept of “friendship” has meant for me for over 40 years now, deserves special mention during this month of celebrating the women who formed my character.
Heidi (Tschetter) Olson was my first friend. She taught me the importance of friendship and what it means to be a friend.
In the midst of all that she taught me about friendship, one characteristic in particular stands out — faithfulness.
Heidi was a friend even when I didn’t deserve friendship; she was relentlessly faithful.
The writer of the Old Testament book Proverbs put it like this, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (18:24).
You see, if we don’t have friends who stick by us, if we don’t have friends who teach us the importance of faithfulness, if we don’t have someone to form our character in the area of reliability, well then ruin will find us quickly. And in the most formative time of my life, during a time of learning through observation and mimicking, I was fortunate to have Heidi by my side.
Since college, Heidi and I hardly see each other. She is married a wonderful man, and they have two beautiful daughters. She along with her husband and me along with my wife stay in contact via Facebook, and we occasionally see each other, but the lasting impact of a childhood friend is still there in my life. It has impacted every friendship that I’ve had since.
The characteristic of faithfulness that she taught me, however, transcends just friendship. The faithfulness that she demonstrated in our friendship has influenced my devotion to God, my love for my wife, my care for my children, and the list could go on.
I am thrilled that Heidi has agreed to write tomorrow’s post concerning the importance of childhood friends and the impact they can have on us. I hope that you will gain insight from her wisdom as I have. She is truly one of the women whom I thank and celebrate during this month long celebration of women.
March is International Women’s Month! It is my hope that you will join me over the course of the rest of March in celebrating the women who have had a significant role in influencing me. I will post daily blog-posts — some of these posts will be from me talking about the women who have had a significant role in influencing me and some of the posts will be from these women themselves, childhood friends, mentors, teachers, co-workers, etc.
My hope is that this series, “Celebrating Women,” will accomplish three things:
- to serve in a small way as a “Thank You” to all the women who have influenced me
- that you will gain wisdom from those who have spoken wisdom into my life
- that it will serve as a reminder to say thank you and to recognize all the amazing women in your one life
Click here to see all of the posts related to “Celebrating Women.”