“Mommy, I met a new friend today. We had a good time out on the playground. I can’t wait to play with her tomorrow!” How often does friendship begin in places of open air, where there is freedom to run, climb and share ideas? While our children tell us about new friends, we never say, “Aren’t they lucky, treat them well, and, she won’t be the only new friend in your life.” Instead, we encourage and rely upon memorable quotes to teach them how to rise above those difficult lessons in being and having friends.
Odd numbers are challenging in friendships. As adults, we say, “Three’s a crowd.” In a child’s mind, this new person is invading the duo. Another great expression, “When life hands you what you think are lemons, make lemonade.” Yes, children need opportunities to handle odd-numbered groupings, and see that “the more friends” is truly “the merrier.”
Listening to Others
Did you know the word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent”? Listening to others is a hard skill, especially for children who want to exert leadership and offer original ideas. With time and patience, children will soon value accomplishing a task when partnered and allowed to work together. “Together Everyone Achieves More!”
Trusting Your Intuition
We all have an inner voice that reminds us to be cautious and aware. Even with the best of friends, it is a tough decision to follow the crowd. There are often repercussions from staying behind and walking a different direction. One of the most important lessons in friendship is remaining true to yourself and your values. “If the inner image of yourself is integrity, then you may not find yourself walking alone, but leading.”
Young children are blatantly honest in their feelings and descriptions. It is a shame friendship is impacted by the change of growing up. Truthful answers should not be sugar-coated to protect a friend, and anger is not the answer to hurt feelings. A good friend will always be honest. Isn’t that the most important value in friendship? When in doubt, you can always make a pinky promise!
Yes, cookies crumble and messes are made. Friends are human and most certainly will make mistakes. Even the great Will Rogers is quoted as saying, “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?” It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them, that defines us. A great friend will take the time to apologize, and an understanding friend will be accepting. One day, soon, you may be the one asking for forgiveness.
Cherishing Real Friends
In youth, sometimes it is hard to distinguish a real friend, especially when they are right there every day. Of course, there are great times and bad, disagreements and questionable actions; yet, a good friend can always be counted on. The best part is that she can count on you, too. As they say, “Friendship isn’t a big thing—it’s a million little things.”
As parents, we love to listen to our children voice the highlights of their day the moment the passenger door closes or book bags are tossed onto the kitchen table. The mood changes from day to day as well as the rules of friendship, especially in elementary school. Aristotle is quoted as having said, “Wishing to be friends is a quick word, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.” It will take plenty of practice, hurt feelings, misunderstandings and apologies to understand and build those long- lasting and “forever more” relationships.
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