Teaching Our Kids About Friends
Welcome to part one of a three part series on friendship. Today’s post is my take on friendship and how I hope to have a positive influence on my kids’ friendships.
I’ve heard it said that friends are the family you choose. I love that. As someone who had a difficult time making friends as a teen, I feel especially blessed to have an inner circle of women in my life now that I count as my closest friends. My inner circle friends are those with whom I am extremely close. We’ve shared good times and bad, secrets, fun memories, knowing looks and other types of non-verbal communication, dreams and inside jokes. We’ve also shared heartaches, disappointments, illnesses, and loss of children, parents, and jobs.
Having a bunch of friends has never been my style and I’m selective about who I spend my time with. I choose to spend my time with women who share my values, whose company I enjoy and leave me feeling recharged. I like to learn from and be inspired by my friends, and I hope I am that friend in return.
Once, a woman sat across from me in my office and told me she guards her time. I thought that was one of the most ridiculous and self-important things I had ever heard. That is, until several years and several episodes of burnout later. Now, I guard my time. I guard my family’s time. If something isn’t a “want to,” I don’t do it and I don’t feel guilty about saying no. This means, I don’t have to accept every invitation, and I don’t have to volunteer for everything. How is this relevant to friendships? One of my most important friendships is the friendship my husband and I share. I can’t be a good friend to him if I’ve spent all my energy elsewhere, and he can’t be a good friend to me if I’ve spread our family so thin that there’s nothing to give to each other.
I see my daughter being a good friend to her friends. Like me, and her dad, too, she prefers quality to quantity. Her friends rely on her for sound advice, and she relies on them, too. I watch them as they create special memories and support each other. I want to model what it is to be a good friend by involving her with my friendships. I think the best friendships are the ones that the whole family is part of. Maybe that’s why some friends end up becoming like family.
- What do you value most in a friendship?
- Do you thrive with a large group, or do you prefer an inner circle?
- What are some things you want your kids to learn about friendships?