Sunday, August 28, 2011

With Friends Like These...

My family moved a good bit when I was a child and, as a result, I never attended the same school for more than two years. So, as Katie enters 5th grade at the same school she's attended since kindergarten, walking into the building is a little like coming home.
First day of 5th grade!
 This school is like a family, and like all families, there are the people you love and the people that you wish would move across the country. With three or four classes per grade level, Katie's been in class with just about all of the kids in her grade by now. It's fun going in and getting hugs from little girls I've known for several years, or taught in a Brownie troop, or helped in class with. It's nice to see little bitties growing into young men and women. They are so sweet, and so decent, and still mostly innocent.


I've always said that I would never tell my children who they could be friends with, as long as the friends weren't involved in dangerous or morally repugnant behavior. I love saying 'morally repugnant'! And really, the worst thing we've run across in our little rural elementary school is the occasional middle finger and one kid who peed in a water bottle on a dare. It has been, at best, low level hooliganism.

Which makes it even harder when Katie has friends that I just don't like. Or, worse, who's parents I just don't like. I can't say, "Hey, Katie. Don't hang out with that person because she's rude and her mom is a bigot." I won't ever disallow my child to be friends with a person based on their race or religious beliefs or where they live or their socio-economic bracket. So I can't disallow it when the kid is just a jerk.

So what can I do? I can't go around kicking asses, though I've said "I'm going to kick that kid's ass!" through clenched teeth on more than one occasion. I can try my best to teach my children to be friends with people who are kind and considerate and polite, at least most of the time. I can tell them what good people they are, so they believe they are deserving of friends who don't treat them like a doormat. I can give them confidence, so that when the day comes that they have to look a kid in the eye and tell them to back off, they can do it. I can teach them to be a good friend.

I hope it's enough. I can't protect them entirely from bullies and hurt and lost friendships and broken hearts. I can give them what tools I can, and be there to help them pick up the pieces when they don't work. I will try to be an advocate when necessary, and stand back when needed. And kick ass, if it comes to it.



  2. Awesome Legs. Great Finish