3/10/10

Never say, "Look over THERE!"


My very best friend in elementary school was a girl named Beth Fearnow. She lived two doors down from us on Lemon Road in McLean, Virginia. Her father and mine were in JAG together at the Pentagon, and our mothers used to love to host outrageous cocktail parties every Friday night. (Yep, we were Navy brats.) Beth and I were one year apart, and we were the best of friends – for many good reasons. She had tons of great Barbie clothes, loved to play in the creek in the back yard and didn’t mind getting filthy dirty, was not afraid of bugs, would participate in the torturing of my little brother and his friends, and most importantly, had two older, GORGEOUS brothers whom the neighborhood girls adored.

In kindergarten your best friend looks a little different than it does now. In kindergarten your best friend will tattle on you if you steal the lego-man, if you cut in line, if you take an extra handful of cheese-doodles, and if you color in your neighbor’s journal. Your best friend will wrestle you to the carpet even though he knows you’ll get in trouble. They will race you down the hall, walk you to the nurse or help you give birth to your baby doll in the kitchen free-play area. (Breathe, Janie, breathe! Now, push!) They love your red sparkly Dorothy slippers that you wear every day, and don’t care if the variety of skirts, dresses, leggings or tights doesn’t match the shoes.

We try so very hard in kindergarten to teach the children about being a good friend. We role play what being a good friend looks like; we read stories like Chester’s Way or Chrysanthemum that describe what friendship is all about; we practice every day words that you can use to show people you are a good friend. We decided to take a different approach last week, and asked them what they WOULDN’T do to their best friend. Here’s their list of things you would never, ever do to your best friend.

You never blame things on them if you really did it.

When you are having a sleepover, you never have a pillow fight with them.

You never kick them in their privates.

You never tell them to “look at that” and then punch them in the face.

You don’t take toys out of their hands.

When they are crying you don’t call them crybaby.

You never have a backpack fight with them.

You never pick up a rock and throw it in your best friend’s face.

You never break your friend’s heart.

So, in the beginning, we all know what not to do with our friends. Those things are glaringly obvious, even to a five year old. As we get older our friends become even more important to us. In the teen years, they become the center of our universe - they help us choose what to wear, where to eat, who to date, what club to join and what parties to attend. Unfortunately, the harder a parent tries to steer their children to who they think are the proper friends, it’s really the luck of the draw. We just pray that our children will use their hearts to determine whom they will trust with their friendship. (A lot of praying is involved, I’ll tell you that.)

As an adult, our best friend is someone you call when you have a free moment, someone you share a silly laugh with, someone you cry with, someone you drag to garage sales, or the Goodwill, and someone you vent with. The older I get, the more I value these friends who are so very, very important for my sanity. Your friend listens without judging you, gives you valuable advice without making you feel that what you have been doing all along is just plain stupid, and is there with a comforting cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on when the bad stuff happens. (And unfortunately, it does happen.)

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen.


I couldn’t have said it better myself.



(Raise your hand if you KNEW this was a re-post.)



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34 comments:

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Those are great lessons that we learn as kids but why is it easy to forget those lessons when we become adults?

The Pipster said...

Hand not raised. I had no idea. It's fun to read your stories about growing up. P.S. Please stop by my blog if you get a chance and visit my virtual lemonade stand (adult lemonade w/vodka is available)

Everyday Goddess said...

So True.

And let's hear it for our friends whom we met in the blog world who could be our long lost twin!

xo
Elise

viridian said...

Me! My hand is up! Call on me!
Oh, not really a question? oops.

Brian Miller said...

dang, i wish i had that list of not to do's years ago..smiles.

always good lessons to relearn...

Megan said...

okay...I know you'll know what I mean.... she finally got back to me..I sent the coat... asked about the missing items....no response & no money for the coat I sent.

Hum...she's not my best friend. Were you wondering?

Captain Dumbass said...

I'm trying to teach my son not to spurn all the offers of friendship he's getting from the girls in his class. That will bite him in the ass one day.

Anne said...

Great *re*post. To those of us who didn't find you until after you un-did your old blog... it is all new. :-)

It may be my browser... but the post today was missing words... it was cut off on the right margin. I got the gist of it... but thought I'd let you know in case it was something fixable on your end.

BTW- 6 school days until Spring Break... I think I can make it.

Suzy said...

I can think of one more: "Friends don't leave hostile anonymous comments on your blog!"

Joanie M said...

That was lovely. And my hand is not up. If I read this before I have forgotten it.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

There is nothing like a best friend.

*sigh*

I miss mine.

CatLadyLarew said...

What a wonderful reminder of what friendship is. I missed this the first time around, so thanks for reposting!

Fragrant Liar said...

Good friends are priceless, virtual or in the flesh. We can never take them for granted. Those are my two cents for friendship.

Heidi said...

I didn't know it was a repost,so I enjoyed it even more.
It seems so much harder to find good friends as I get older so I try to appreciate when I find one.
LOL at the what not to do to your friends!

CarrieAnn said...

I had no clue this was a repost, and I read your blog more often than I read my own mother's (don't tell her). Raise your hand if you get super irritated with people who leave you comments on YOUR blog telling you to stop by and visit THEIR blogs. Geez....that's so irritating!

Steven Anthony said...

I did not know it was a repost....I have always said friends are the family we choose:)

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Aw, love this! Wish you'd been my kindergarten teacher...

Amy said...

I did not know, but if you are quoting Henri Nouwen I don't care! Love him.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I didn't know it was a repost. And I truly love that quote with the friend who will sit quietly with you. Very comforting.

Jeanne said...

Didn't see this one the first time around, so I'm GLAD it's a repost.

Gayle said...

Sober is the new black? Did I miss something somewhere along the line? I'm always missing something. Dang it!

mo.stoneskin said...

My best friends turned out to be the lads that realistically, my parents at the time would have preferred I spent less time with!

WeaselMomma said...

Raises hand and am blessed to call you my friend.

The Good Cook said...

I did NOT know this was a repost - but is certainly is a great post.

And yes, those kids are right, you never tell a friend to look over there and then punch them in the face.

Linda said...

Great post (or repost)! I love the quote--it is so true. Living in the same area as you, I find that in the past I have made good friends and then they leave... While it is possible to have a strong friendship "long distance", it is a lot harder, especially when you need that shoulder to cry on!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Amen to that.

LilliGirl said...

Hey, Chica! Award for you over at my place. :)

SkylersDad said...

I didn't know it was a repost, but I am glad you did!

LegalMist said...

Good advice from kindergarteners. Thanks for sharing. :)

slow panic said...

i did not know it was a repost. i still loved it so very much. i heart kindergartners. especially now that mine are older.

Kris said...

My best friend lives 1,000 miles away from me but when we are together it's like nothings changed!

ReadingRosie said...

Best friends are rare jewels...my best childhood friend lives far, far, away and we can go months without talking...but, we pick up on the last conversation and go on as if time or distance doesn't separate. COOL!

So what if you re-post...it was new to me :)

J.R. Reed said...

What up Mom? It's been a while since I commented (but I totally read it, like, all the time and stuff.)

I dig on the old school stories...

SSP said...

always worth a re-read. I AM my friends and they are me