This morning at church, the girls and I had an interesting conversation. Okay, admittedly, most days we have interesting conversations but today's class was really interesting. We are a few weeks behind in where we should be in our lessons, so today we tried to tie up the loose ends on the subject of what makes a good friend. The girls, my co-teacher and I have a tendency to get off subject in class and that happened again today, although the subject matter was very relevant.
How do you go about choosing a good friend? There are a lot of elements that are needed in building the perfect friendship. You want someone who is supportive, encouraging, someone who believes in you. They want you to stay out of trouble. They want you to be the best YOU that you can be. They like you - for you. Not for some personification that you PUT OUT THERE for the world to see. This is the friend who has your back at all times. You laughs when you laugh. Cries when you cry. Loves you unconditionally...and for a room of 12-14ish year old girls it is awesome to hear what they think and how they feel.
It made me start to think... would I encourage my daughter to be friends with someone that I thought was not "good"? Would I encourage her to be friends with someone who didn't have her best interests at heart if I liked that child's parent(s)? Would I want her to be friends with someone who made her feel disposable? How about someone who encouraged her to do 'wrong' over 'right'? And if it all started to go wrong, would I sit down and map out a plan to try to make everything right? Or would I just give in, give up and allow her to do whatever she wanted because it was her life and I was too busy in mine to want to try?
In our class, we have a great diversity of students. We have students who have been removed from their homes and are in family services homes. We have girls who have been adopted. Girls who, for one reason or another, only come to church with one parent while the other comes nowhere near the church. We have girls who struggle with self confidence, grades, boys, parents, peer pressure. friends. We hear stories about girls at school who are having sex with guys. There are students who are lying to their parents about EVERYTHING. Their parents have problems. They, themselves, worry about money, grades, weight, friends...everything. We talk about EVERYTHING. We jokingly call our class "The Vault"....because we talk freely and it stays within the vault unless it could be harmful to them or someone else.
The girls really make me think. What do you value in friendships? Do you find yourself trying to gauge your children in their quest for their friends? Do you try to stress to them the type of people who will make good friends or do you just sit back and let the chips fall wherever they may?