If you’re a parent of a school age child, you’ve probably experienced at least once, encouraging a child who has lost a friend or is feeling left out or possibly even bullied. In my experience, it is heartbreaking and there’s nothing I can do as a mom to “fix it.” I can love my child, encourage my child, but feeling like you don’t have any friends or worse, being bullied by other kids is not something a parent has the power to fix…try as we may.*
My youngest daughter has struggled socially for the last few years. Making (and keeping) friends has not been easy for her. As a result, she hates going to school and she hates riding the bus. Recently, I was sitting with her as she was laying on her bed crying…”I don’t have any friends. At recess I sit on a bench and read my book and everyone thinks I’m okay…but I’m NOT OKAY!” I had to do everything in my power to hold back tears of my own heartbreak.
Since that conversation a couple weeks ago my daughter has since made a friend at school. She’s now excited about school. They get to do special things together - like helping the school nurse with projects and earning study time just the two of them together. And my daughter loves it. Her face lights up when she talks about her friend. This friendship has completely changed my daughter’s perspective about school.
As I realized this morning how happy she was as she went out the door to school, it dawned on me…all it takes is one true friend to turn things around. It made me think of the times in my life where it was the words or action of just one person that made all the difference.
It’s easy to be a casual friend…a coffee date here and there, PTA friends, girls night out friends, soccer mom friends. It’s not easy to be a friend to one who is falling apart, in every sense. It’s not easy to be a friend to the person who needs more than they can give. It’s not easy to be a friend when the rest of the world walked out and you’re the only one left. But that ONE friend who is there when you’re facing difficulty, when nobody else wants to be your friend, when you’re really tough to love, when you can’t reciprocate because you simply do not have what it takes…that is one true friend…and that, my friends is a gift.
How many times has ONE person said or done something that made you feel like you belong, you’re strong, you have purpose and you must keep going? How many times have YOU been that one person to someone else?
When I realized this morning how much one true friend had impacted my daughter it reminded me of how many times just one true friend gave me the strength and courage to keep going. It reminded me that’s the kind of friend I want to be.
*While I couldn't fix my daughter's situation, I could reach out to her teacher and school nurse and let them know about the situation. I know that with their assistance my daughter's new friendship blossomed. Don't hesitate to use your resources, parents!