The Teacher is Talking: FALL series–#2 Making Friends

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By Leslie Lindsay

Long ago, a wise person once told me, “When you arlook back on your life, and you think of all of the relationships and people who have come and gone, you’ll see that the number of true friends will fit on the fingers of only one hand.”

I looked at my right hand, flipping it over so I could see the ridges and swirls of my palm.  It was pink and youthful.  I counted my friends, wiggling each finger as I did.  More than five.  I looked back at this person, my eyes full of questions.  At the time, I was young–about to graduate college.  My whole life lay out ahead of me.  How could it be possible to only have five individuals to name as ‘true friends’ as I became an old lady; there was a lot of living left between now and then. 

And how it is that we teach this lesson to our youth?  Perhaps, we don’t.  Maybe it’s intended to be one of those mysterious life’s lessons that we learn along the way?  In the meantime, your child will undoubtably have friends and want more of them.  In fact, at this particular stage my daughter is in, she sees popularity as a virtue. 

Here are some ideas to get the discussion going at home:

  • Why is it important to meet new people?
  • What kinds of people would you want to be friends with?  (list out some qualities you look for–and identify some not-so-good qualities, too; those are ones you’ll want to avoid)
  • How will you know when/if new people meet your qualifications?
  • What information might you want to know about someone new? (where do you go to school?  Grade?  Age–only for kids? where do you live?  What do you like to do for fun?  What games do you like?  Sports?  Do you have a big family/brothers or sisters?)
  • How can you let others know you are interested in them as they share information? 

Test your knowledge by role-playing at home: 

My kids love when we do this kind of thing.  My 6 year old and 8 year old daughters often try role reversals with me and my hubby.  We’ll be the kid, they’ll be themselves (or sometimes a parent/teacher).  We’ll try to  make friends with each other by practicing the skills we learned or discussed as a family.  Make it fun!  Be silly!

  • Choose the right words for your introduction.  “Hi!  My name is ________.  Nice to meet you!” 
  • Choose the right time.  Is the person busy?  Did you make eye contact first ?  Offer a smile?
  • Give good non-verbal clues (happy eyes, friendly posture, a smile).  This helps others see you are friendly and offers a good first impression

 

Pair of HandsFollow-up with a discussion about why friends are so important.  Talk about good friendships beingt he result of quality and not quantity (back to my daughter’s notion that popularity is all the rage).  You may even want to extend the activity by tracing your child’s hand and having him list the friends he’d call in bind by writing those names along the fingers of the traced hand. 

As for who that wise person was…my grandmother. 

Tomorrow:  (Literary) Agent Toolkit

About leslie1218

Author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) frantically working on a novel that should be ready for submission this fall. Mom of two spritely redheads & one chubby basset hound whose stories & images appear in my writing from time-to-time.

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