What is a friend?
I feel as parents we sometimes skip over the obvious things that require attention when raising our children. Oh sure, I am a big believer in “leading by example”, the number one way for a child to absorb the rights and wrongs of this world. But sometimes we are not always there to lead by example. There are times when no is looking that our children have to make decisions without our input.
There are many tried and true statements that we as parents spew forth on a daily basis.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Speak to people the way you expect to be spoken too.
Listening can be more valuable than speaking
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Put the toilet seat down
Wash your hands
blah, blah, blah,
One of the most important decision-making ventures in a young childs life is who will become their friends. There is no manual for this aspect of childhood! No ability for us as parents to interview prospective candidates thusly weeding out anyone who is not up to snuff! At times we as parents may or may not have a say in this matter as many “friends” are nothing more than names we hear a little about during conversations away from school. These are kids our children spend the day with but don’t socialize with outside of school. If you think because they don’t spend time with these children outside of school these children are not molding your childs ideals you would be wrong.
Very much like an office, we have people we socialize with inside and outside the office (inner circle) then there is the “filler” (outer circle)those people who you work alongside, go to lunch with but when its quitting time the relationship time clock has just punched out.
The “Fillers” still have a profound impact on our day-to-day mental acuity. From idle conversation to gossip, to full-blown “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” bullshit! These people are there preying upon our very emotional survival!
So how do we go about guiding our children in selecting and keeping quality friends? Helping them to spot the “Real Housewives” of this world?
Once again it may be left to setting the example. Over the years many people have come and gone in my life. Some needed to go, while a few were the product of life changes. There are those who I miss dearly and there are the core few who are still a constant in my life today.
So what is the secret? How do we continue to guide our children without disturbing the natural order of things? Listen I know every person they meet and interact with will help mold, change and craft who they become as adults. But I still want a say, I still want to be there giving them just a little guidance, using my years of experience in this particular arena!
Maybe I worry too much. Maybe I should just trust them and be there when things go to hell! Maybe, just maybe leading by example really does pay off in all aspects.
So to my children, someday when you read this story (and you will). I have many friends, people I care about and would do just about anything for; It is not in my nature to miss an opportunity to help someone in need or to make a new friend. So I have created a list of what it means to be my friend. Some are true heartfelt descriptions while others are a mixture of satire and actual events that solidified a few long-term, diehard friendships. Hopefully this list will be of some help to you all in the future.
What it takes to be my friend
- Willing to drop what you are doing no matter the time of day or night to help.
- Can bear each others burden without judgement
- Understands we may not always see eye to eye but in no way does that diminish the respect we hold for each other.
- See’s my wife as my equal and understands she comes first.
- Gives me shit when I screw up but will defend me to the death if someone else jumps on the bandwagon.
- Takes my car keys away when I am drinking.
- Lets me vent and doesn’t take offense if I become passionate about my point.
- Isnt disappointed in me for being a life long Cowboys fan.
- Has no problem reprimanding my children or with me reprimanding theirs. “It takes a village”
- Has my back, period.
- Continues to keep secret the time we stole a police car!
- Understands that “going fishing” is code for; we are gonna throw some lines in the water and drink a shit load of beer!
- Forgives me for the time I let you go upstairs with a really drunk girl who threw up on you.
- Pulls me from a garbage can after getting thoroughly tossed
- Understands I am a complete smart ass and appreciates me for my efforts.
- Lets my narcissism flourish because well; lets face it, I am great, to know me is to love me!
- Allows me to stand between them and some mouthy jackass, preventing a fight even though the jackass really needed to have his skull thumped.
- likes me even though musically I am still trapped in the 80’s
- Never lets me forget the time I got sea sick in some of the worst weather on record while salmon fishing!
- Know and I mean know, if you are my friend I will cry when you cry, I will laugh when you laugh, I will bleed when you bleed, if you are angry I am angry as well! You have made it past the thick layers that form who I am and for that I will remain like an old blood hound, on the porch waiting for the chance to hunt by your side again.