Tag Archives: friendship

Time with Friends

DSC_9545For the last couple of years, my children have done quite a few extracurricular activities: P.E. class once or twice a week, a literature class once a month, FCA club meeting twice a month, scouts, music lessons, art classes, and holiday parties. We saw the same friends sometimes two or three times a week, and they enjoyed being together. This year, though, that group has gone in many different directions, and we haven’t seen some of those friends since school started back.

I’m not worried about my children’s socialization — they’ve been meeting new people this year as they’ve attended co-op classes. We still have some friends over to our house once a week for art lessons, and that’s a lot of fun. But as the saying goes, old friends are like gold, and I don’t want my children to lose touch with the friends they’ve spent so much time with in the past.

So today, I made the 30-minute trip back to our old P.E. class. The P.E. class was re-arranged this year so younger children play games during the first hour while older students play during the second hour. My oldest, John, was the one who wanted to participate the most, so we went for the second hour.

And it was really good. The girls, Luke, and I went to a friend’s house who lives nearby; her girls and younger sons weren’t doing P.E. that hour, so all of them had a great time playing together inside. Another friend whose older sons were also in PE stopped by with her daughter, and it turned out to be a very relaxing visit. And John had the opportunity to play soccer with friends he hadn’t seen in a while either.

On the way home, I asked them if the trip was worth it. A resounding “YES!” went up from everyone else in the car. We won’t be able to go every week, but when we can, we’ll make the effort to get there. It’s an investment of a little more time and a little more gasoline, but I’m sure it will have a big return as the relationships continue to grow.

Friendship Challenges

HeartThis summer, some of my girls’ friends decided it would be fun to have a club – an American Girl club. The plan was to meet once a week for a few hours of fun activities: making crafts for their dolls, watching some of the American Girl movies, or discussing one of the books. The group of 7-12 year olds was going to plan and conduct the meetings themselves, and the club was going to be their own, without any moms being involved.

The first meeting began with the election of officers, and some of the girls had their feelings hurt in the process. The next two meetings resulted in even more disagreements, and friendships were becoming strained. Last week the girls came to a cross roads:  should the club continue as is, or should the parents become more involved? 

Perhaps the girls should be allowed to work out the problems themselves, since figuring out relationships is a part of life. But these are young girls, many of whom haven’t had to deal with these types of issues. Because homeschooling allows us to choose who our children socialize with, we’ve been able to find friends who share the same values, and consequently they haven’t had very much to work out — that is, until the club started. 

But I’m convinced they need direction. They need a parent to sit in on the meetings and monitor what is said and how it is said. The girls can still come up with their own ideas – they just need someone there to teach them how to conduct a meeting, how to respond kindly to each other, and how to compromise when necessary.    

The moms are now working out a plan so the club will benefit all involved. Hopefully the girls will learn more than leadership; they’ll learn a lot about friendship as well.

Our friend, Mrs. McCall

For more than two years, my children and I made weekly visits to an area nursing home to see our friend, Virginia McCall.

We didn’t know Mrs. McCall before starting our visits. I had wanted the children to be involved in a service activity, so I called the activities director of the nursing home and asked if there was someone we could “adopt” – someone who needed extra company. And then we met Mrs. McCall.

At first, I thought this would just be an opportunity for the children to do a good deed, and in the process learn how to communicate to older adults, especially those in poor health. What I didn’t realize when we started, though, was how much Mrs. McCall would bless us.

Often when we visited, the children would tell her about their week and what they’d been doing. Sometimes they would show her a new toy or photos from our latest trip. But when we started asking about her childhood, we discovered something new, as she shared with us a history rich in hard work and strong values.

One day this past fall, when we went for our usual visit, the receptionist at the front desk told us Mrs. McCall was in the hospital – she had suffered a stroke. She was doing well for a few days, then took a turn for the worst, so I loaded up the children and we headed out to see her. When we arrived, she wasn’t responding. I talked to her a little, and each of the children held her hand and said “hello.” It was actually good-bye, because about an hour after we left, she passed away. I believe she was waiting to hear from the children, and then she was ready to go.

Mrs. McCall lived a good, full life to the age of 92.  While my original intention for visiting had been to enrich her life, I discovered through our visits that she had greatly enriched ours. By being with her, my children learned compassion, friendship, and generosity; by talking with her, they learned thankfulness, diligence, and contentment. Thank you, Mrs. McCall.