We all have had that “Best friend” The one in high school. The one we hung out with on Friday nights, went to the school games with, the one we could divulge our secrets to, the one who was there for us when our boyfriend did the unthinkable, which resulted in a dreaded break up. Lets go back farther…the Bestest friend in the whole wide world, the one you met in elementary school. The friend you rode horses with, the one who had cows in her backyard instead of a pool, the one you would laugh with, curse with (when the adults were not around!) and the one you would occasionally have arguments with. Those were the days! After the arguments you would bond together even stronger and fight for each others honor when someone messed with them! Remember even earlier! Lets go back to Kindergarten. Our best friend was our best friend one day and then the next they would say; “I’m not going to be your friend!” It was a crushing moment. Tears would flow and hearts were broken forever….until you brought twinkies to school and you not only gained that best friend back but you acquired about 5 more on top of that! These are the things I remember when one of my children come home heartbroken over a friend or so called friend. I remember how it was so well, and how real those feelings were. When kids get older they start to develop more meaningful friendships. They start to learn who their real friends are, who the fair weather friends are and who just used them when they needed something. These are hard lessons. Parents try to guide their children in the right direction when it comes to friends. We discourage them from hanging out with the ones who frequently get into trouble and encourage them to spend more time with the “good kids” , the ones who are never in the office, the ones who get strait A’s. But, its not that easy. These so called good kids very well may be the ones who slip through the radar, the sneaky Eddie Haskal type kids. Don’t be fooled! A good test of character is at a party of their peers. In a group. Who is following the crowd? Who is the ring leader? Who stands out as respectful and who does not. It was a sobering and eye opening experience when my son had his birthday. Every boy child in the 4th grade was invited. I was amazed how the so called “good kids” were the most disrespectful. The child who was deemed the Wild one of the group, was indeed the wild one! I did witness about three boys who were exceptional. My son invited a boy he called his best friend. This so called friend was one of the most disrespectful. My son almost cried at his own birthday party and when he got home he said ” Mom, I’m so sad, I thought he was my friend.” How sad is that. I felt like crying! I tried to make light of it by telling my son that the boy was just excited and showing off and who cares, he scored all these cool gifts and gift cards! These early childhood experiences should be remembered. They help us later on when we develop and establish adult relationships. Finding the right people who build us up, not tear us down. The ones like we had in high school who we could trust with our feelings or the ones in elementary school who we could disagree with but seemed to figure things out and come out stronger. The Kindergarten friends….not so much, but these are the fair weather friends we should indeed remember. The ones who only want to be your friend when you have something they want, or need. These childhood experiences are important, important in determining which friends to keep and which to say a kind goodbye. All friends come into our lives for a reason. Some for many years, some for a few months and sometimes for even a day. My prayer is that my children can have many friends that enrich their lives as they enrich theirs as well as to be able to determine who is the right match for them.
A friend is all good and a bag of twinkies until the twinkies run out, but then again, that is Not a friend. Now go out there and teach those kids what a Real friend is. Why? Because the mama said so.