I've been thinking about friendship a little lately, mostly because I have to plan a series of activities for my class in Anti-Bullying week next week, but also because I've been lucky enough to spend time with good friends over the last week. A get together for a friends milestone birthday, people I've known from college who are more like family than friends, coffee with others who I've known for less time, but I still hold as dear.
We get to choose our friends, they become our extended family, somehow I have to get this across to the 9 & 10 years olds I teach. Maybe they can't choose their friends, they are all lumped together in one class, friends through circumstance, not choice, and their friends go back to their own families at the end of the day. When you're nine, thinking a friend you have in class will be a friend for life is an insurmountable thought. Two of my best friends were with me at primary school, we are just as close now as when we played Scooby Doo at break time or argued over who's turn it was to sharpen the pencils. When you're nine a broken friendship can feel like the end of the world, the idea of being kind is hard in practice when your heart hurts. Making friends is easy, losing them is easy too. You have to make the effort. As Kurt Voennegut put it:
"There's only one rule I know of; You've got to be kind."