Some people seem to not know how to be a good friend. We need to teach our children how to be a good friend so that they will have friends.
Hopefully I have enough friends, strong ones, to serve as my pall bearers. People laugh when that is said, but there is some serious thought to it if you give it a moment to sink in.
“My life has been blessed with the best friends a person could ever have.” I wrote that sentence in the little book of memories I wrote for my kids. The prompt on the page was “Do you remember your childhood friends?”
My response: “First are my cousins, but they are expected to stand by me because we’re family. And we grew up together.
“In first grade, right at my sixth birthday, I was introduced to Nance, Pammy, and Deets. Through elementary the other friends started to slide back. In Junior High and High School it was obvious we were ‘the girls,’ as people called us. We had other friends, others we did things with, but we always came back to the four of us. We fit. We understood one another. We were four who knew what it took to be a good friend. We were in sports and competed together. We laughed together. I suppose we cried together.
“I know with a certainty deep in my heart that when and if I ever need them, they will be there. There with no judgement, just being there to provide whatever I need.
“My strength comes from always knowing I have the Granthams and the girls. That no matter what I do, they will continue to love and accept me.
“Knowing this has made life easy. They don’t correct, but they listen. They don’t expect me to tell them everything, but they understand. They only expect me to love them as much as they love me. I can be totally vulnerable with them because they are part of me.
“We were always there for one another. Absence doesn’t even take that away.
“My children, don’t try to fix your friends. Don’t try to get your friends to be like you. Be who you are meant to be and help your friends be who they are meant to be. Be honest or be quiet. Trust them or they will never trust you. A friend is a companion for whom you have few responsibilities. And don’t try to make them responsible for you. They are to share adventures with, to tell stories to, to relax with, a place you are always safe because they protect you, just as you protect them – not because they’re right, but because they’re your friend.
“Be brave – be a forever friend.”
Start thinking about what other people need, rather than what you want. That is the first step to being a good friend.
Jan Karon wrote in the first Mitford Series book, first page, He arrived at the office, uttering the prayer he had offered at its door every morning for twelve years: “Father, make me a blessing to someone today …. “
What a perfect way to start a day.
Merry Christmas and I’ll see you on the bricks!