I’ve been pondering friendships for the past few days. You see, my son is reaching that age where childhood friendships begin to change. Before now (and I love this stage of childhood) all it took to make a friend was running into each other on the playground or basically just being in the same room. Now, it’s different for him. (Not all the time, but sometimes, and I know it will only get harder.) At this stage, more-so with girls than boys, the competition for friends begins. Who will be the popular ones? Who won’t? Who will be a friend today, but not tomorrow?
So, I find myself wondering why. I remember these same days as a child. I must admit that my experiences were much different. We moved around a lot, so I never was able to develop that ONE true friend. I always came in after the friendships were made and well established. And as a VERY shy child, I was fine with a small circle of friends.
Why, as society, do we tend to “program” our children as to who is appropriate for friendship. Sure, we don’t want them to befriend the “bad” crowd, but really, can you tell who is part of the “bad” crowd at 6 & 7 years old. (That’s another story) My biggest problem is when people unintentionally steer their children away from potential friends, not because their families aren’t good people, but because they’re on a different social ladder.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty at times as the next person. And I hate myself when I realize what I’ve done. No, I don’t think “hate” is too strong a word. Why? Because I was that kid. I was the poor kid. My family was the one who received the Christmas boxes from your church. We were happy kids, we just didn’t have a lot. But, I remember what it was like when someone wouldn’t be my friend because my clothes were out-dated or maybe because I needed to wash my hair. And I refuse to let my children treat others that way. Not that we have much, or are we very high on any social ladder, because we definitely are not. But, I want to teach my children how to love unconditionally. How to be a friend to everyone.
I see myself failing at this. Why?
Does society really influence such young children that much?
Is it my shy tendencies? Do I need to force myself out of my “comfort-zone” more often to set a better example?
Hmmm…this will take more pondering.