Warringah Ratettes - Sydney Women's Premiership Winners 2007Friendship can be a fickle thing, and as parents, we should do our best to guide our children to be good friends, regardless of how their friends treat them. The old adage that friends are the family that we create for ourselves is very true. Life's joys are enhanced when you share them with family and friend's, just as life's sorrows are easier to bear when you have loved ones to support you.
Through out our lives we experience all types of friendships and family relationships; some are healthy and some can be quite poisonous; we can learn from them all. However we shouldn't let any of our negative experiences affect our children's friendships and jade their view of other people. Instead, we should teach them how to be a good friend, and to recognise friends that are good for them; quality, is far more important than quantity.
This is my view on friendship, and as arguably their most influential role model; I will try to pass this philosophy on to my children. I will teach them that sometimes your friends may not always be on your side, or agree with you, however that is ok as long as they want what's best for you.
Friend's The Spice of Life
Life is like a great big juicy meal, you can nibble around the edges, and blow on it tentatively just in case it's too hot. Or you can throw caution to the wind and attack it with gusto, taking your fill and not worrying too much if you get burnt in the process. Life can be pretty bland, so to spice it up a bit, you throw in some friends... Friends can be very flavoursome, sweet, sour, hot, cold. The point is, they are there to enhance your life, and enrich it - not to be your life - for that has substance on it's own. As with herbs and spices in your meals, you often have different friends for different situations; life long friends from childhood; school friends; work friends; sporting friends; friends of friends; online friends; and acquaintances with whom you are friendly.
The key to having so many friends is ACCEPTANCE... Accept that they may not agree with everything that you do or say, yet know that they will respect you and support you if needed. How do you know that your friends will do this for you? Because that is exactly what you will do for them - and they know it. Seriously, do you agree with everything that all of your friends say and do? I doubt it, and if you pretend to, then you aren't really a good friend, as that is lying by omission, and not showing them your true self or being honest with them.
True friends don't expect their friends to follow them blindly, nor do they try to manipulate support for the actions they take and the choices they make. My wonderful friends don't use emotional blackmail to try and get you to support their point of view. They know, that even if I disagree with them publicly, I do so because I must follow my own conscience, make my own informed decisions as an adult, and travel my own path. I would be very disappointed if they themselves did anything less, and we are all confident in the knowledge that we will always be there when it really counts.
My friends know that I will say what I think always, and that I am honest in my expression of my opinion and fair - I treat everyone the same way - no exceptions. When I do something that is totally out of line, I listen to them, as I value their opinion. I take pleasure that someone cares enough to tell me if I am making a fool of myself, or heading for trouble. I will do the same for a friend, rather than stand by and watch them do something to the detriment of themselves or others. Someone who cared less, and was merely a 'yes' friend, or as I like to call them a 'sheep' would not risk the aggravation, as it's easier to just get along by being agreeable all the time.
Like spices, certain friends are better suited to specific foods. They come in varying flavours and strengths, and they make that slice of life taste delicious. You can spit them out and regurgitate them, however I find that it is best to grin and bear it when they don't taste so good You can't have too many real friends who accept you for what you are; can you? Imagine how bland your meal would be if you added spice to it that just blended in all the time?
Above all friends should enhance your life and be FUN! If they leave a funny taste in your mouth all the time, and make you feel uncomfortable, you can avoid that particular taste; remove them from your menu. Alternatively, you can store them away, for when your taste buds change, or they mature in flavour. Encourage your children to build a vast menu of friends and acquaintances for every occasion. Remember that the most important ingredient in any friendship recipe, is to be an honest, trustworthy, supportive friend yourself.
Luisa Foliaki - Mother of MicroMe & MissyMe