My son who is a mere four months away from graduating from middle school and moving on to high school is in the midst of a friend crisis.
The not-so-wee lad I sometimes refer to as Steiner the minor is learning the hard way that sometimes the people you think are your friends aren’t and that sometimes those that are choose to walk a different path than the one you are on.
It is awkward, uncomfortable and painful to wonder if someone you considered a friend has decided you aren’t.
If you asked me to compare these moments to the crazy sleep-deprived nights that came when he was a baby I’d tell you this time is much harder than then because I can’t protect him.
Can’t stop the stripping of another layer of innocence and the growth that comes with it. Can’t prevent his heart from getting a little harder or stop him from growing a little more cynical about people.
When I wrote The Kind Of Friend You Want To Be I did so with the intent to make a comment about social media and with an eye to a future conversation to be had with my children.
It didn’t require prescience or insight to know a day would come when they would tell me about a rift in a friendship or hard moments with others.
I knew it would happen because I had lived through those moments as a kid and an adult and knew they would too because it is something we all experience.
None of that made it any easier to listen to his story or provided me with great wisdom to dispense.
Part of me was torn by it because I don’t believe in bubble wrapping our kids. I don’t believe in protecting them from everything because we can’t always be there.
They have to learn how to advocate for themselves and how to deal with adversity. They need to know what happens when they fall and how to deal with failure.
But at the same time I wanted to make sure they felt supported and to try do what I can to see they remain compassionate.
What Kind Of Friend Do You Want To Be?
That was the question I asked him and when he answered I told him that was the kind of friend he should focus on being.
But I also told him to remember not everyone would treat him well or the same. I told him he needed to figure out when to pull back and when not to.
Sometimes you have to go with your gut and follow your heart. But I also told him that if he felt like someone fooled or mislead him he shouldn’t let that make him think his heart didn’t work.
And I told him that a day might come when someone might break his heart and that he would figure out a way to put it back together.
“Friends shouldn’t break your heart.”
“No, they shouldn’t but if find the kind of friendship I want you to have they might. I hope they don’t, but if you don’t open yourself up you never get to enjoy the depth of a friendship that are possible.”
What I want for my kids is simple. I want the kind of friendship you see between Kirk and Spock.
You know, the person that has your back and will go the distance.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend(s) like that but we all have the chance. The thing is there is no schedule involved here.
Can’t say when, where or how many times it will happen. All you can do is be open to the possibility so when the opportunity comes you are able to take it.
Spock: The ship out of danger?
Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh
Kirk: the needs of the few
Spock: Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?
Spock: I have been and always shall be your friend.
[Holds up his hand in the Vulcan salute]
Spock: Live long and prosper.
Star Trek- Wrath Of Khan