This morning when Miss N woke up, she said, "Mommy, I was praying." I asked her what she was praying about. "I was praying that if no one wants to play with me, I will be OK because I am a Christian so I will be ok."
I am still not sure what she meant by being a Christian made it ok. I tried to probe a little but didn't get any real answers, other than that sometimes her friends want to play something she doesn't want to play and don't want to play horses. We talked about strategies she could use to ask them to play or join in what she was playing, and what she could do if she didn't want to play what they were.
That made me think, though, about how often she describes a little girl as her "best friend." This has become rather consistent, and as far as I can tell there is no problem, but I realize that at five years old, it is time to talk about making good friend choices. Even in her class at a great little Christian school, there are some kids who have attitudes I would not want her to copy. I don't believe it is too early to have her start thinking about what makes a good friend.
This was one of the best conversations we have ever had. I asked her, "So-and-so is your best friend. What do you think makes her a good friend?"
I got the typical answer, "She likes to play horses with me."
I went a little further, "Did you know the Bible talks about making wise friends? It says, "He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed." I explained what some of those terms meant, and then I asked her, "What do you think makes a wise friend?"
"Someone who obeys the teacher and doesn't be mean to other people."
"Yes, you are right!" Then I reminded her of a Patch the Pirate CD we have about good friends/bad friends. "You know in the CD about the cat and the pig, were they friends with some of the pirates. But were they good friends? Why not?"
"Well, all they wanted to do was watch TV."
"Is watching TV bad?"
"Were they kind to the other pirates? Did they listen to the captain?"
"No, a good friend is kind to your friends and listens to your teacher or your captain pirate."
What surprised me was whats she said next. It wouldn't mean anything to you, but she related to a new CD we just purchased and pointed out a character on that one who was not a good friend, and she gave a very good reason.
This is a conversation I plan to continue. I certainly don't want her to think that someone has to not be her friend if they have a bad day and sass the teacher once. I also want her to realize that she must be kind to all of her classmates, but I think it is important for her to think about the fact that God cares about who her best friends are, that they impact her behavior and attitude, and that it is OK to choose friends because they are wise friends, not just because they like to play what you like to play. Although that helps, of course!