Sigh. Kit came home yesterday sad about something that happened at school. It seems a little girl in her class wanted her to say who her "best friend" and who her "worst friend" in the class was. Now Kit is the type of little girl who meets a friend on the playground and has a new "best friend". She isn't a perfect angel but she is a friendly one. Kit said she didn't know what to say so she told said little girl that indeed she was her "best friend" and basically picked at random another little girl to be her "worst friend". You know what happened next. The little girl promptly went to the second girl to tell her that Kit said she was her "worst friend".
Oh my. This crud starts way too young. So we had a little chat about gossip and friendships and how we treat people. It makes me sad that she has to encounter all this and that she likely made the second little girl feel badly. But we all make mistakes and have to learn from them. She already tried to make amends with the second little girl before she even came home which is good.
When I was in that evil place they call Jr. High I had a devastating "friend" situation. (Didn't everyone? Shouldn't kids just be locked up for two years and let out when it is over? Juuuuust kidding.) But it turned out to be very formative. It made me evaluate the bases of friendship at a young enough age to do something about it. Not that my judgement has been perfect since but I hope that on my end I have been a good friend. I am a complete friend Pig! I love, love my dear friends. I have a POSSE from high school that I know is very unusual. Every year this same group of girlfriends (12-16 of us or so!) have a girls weekend. We go way back (some even to those evil Jr. High days), all pretense is parked at the door and we laugh(and eat)all weekend. My cup is always full after these weekends. We truly rejoice in each others' successes and have the ministry of "presence" in each others' pain. When we lived in Europe I made the trip home for these weekends but now we are just too far away. (I also didn't have three children then!)
My adult made friends are equally as fantabulous! I am ridiculously lucky and blessed! And I want this for my kids.
So may my dear daughter grow and learn from these not so fun times and come out on the other side to be a good friend and enjoy the friendship of others.
Two of my favorite books on the topic:
The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinnis and Friendship as Sacrament by Carmen Caltagrione.