Moving during the middle of the school year in high school is never easy. And we had promised our oldest son that if we did move once he started high school, we would move into a house that allowed him to continue attending the same school. We lied.
Just over halfway into his sophomore year, we found a house that better accommodated our family of nine about thirty miles further away. My husband and I were fairly certain the elementary school aged children would adjust and make friends quickly, but we worried about our two teenagers. They would be moving from a small high school in a rural setting to a large suburban school. We were especially concerned about our son, whose best friend who had moved away a few years earlier had just recently moved back. When they met, at age 11, they acted less like strangers and more like long lost friends that had rediscovered each other. That kind of relationship was irreplaceable.
Our daughter, a freshman, found a group of friends she fit in with on the very first day of Seminary. But as the days and weeks passed, our son seemed to spend more and more time communicating with his friends in our old town. Our new ward and stake did not lack for young men his age that shared his interests, but as his sister hung out with her friends and talked non stop about them at home, he began to spend more time with his books and ipod.
My husband and I hoped that after a summer off, our son would be ready to make new friends at the beginning of the new school year. Instead, things got worse. He began to feel that no one liked him. No one wanted to be his friend.
The three of us sat outside one evening. Our son sat between us, crying as he poured out his feelings of loneliness to us. I didn't know what to do. I ached for my sweet son, who possessed a greater receptiveness to the spirit than I had at his age, a firm faith in the Lord. How could I help him? My mind was blank. But then my husband asked my son if he'd read his patriarchal blessing lately. Through his tears, my son told him he had not. They agreed to read it together the next day.
In reading the blessing, my son discovered a very specific commandment from the Lord to seek out friends. He had been waiting for friends to come to him; after all, that's how his sister had made her friends. Once he realized what the Lord expected of him, my son put forth greater effort.
Over the next few weeks, he talked about people he sat with at lunch or talked to before school. He seemed happier, and he even got invited to a birthday party. Although he has not found a "best friend" here, he has learned the importance of "shewing himself friendly" and even though they no longer see each other everyday, my son's friend from childhood is his friend still. We suspect he's the kind that "sticketh closer than a brother."