As a former teacher, Youth Leader, and other volunteer roles involving children, I do not like seeing kids left out! Somehow, no matter what I’m doing, I always spot that one child who doesn’t have anyone to sit with at lunch. Or the child who stands off to the side while a kickball game is in progress.
I decided the best place to start solving the problem was in my own home. Every year on the eve of the first day of school, our family would gather for a special meal and discuss the summer and look ahead to new classrooms, teachers, and friends. And that’s when I had “the talk”! Not the one you may be thinking about… but the “everyone needs a friend” talk. I would say to my two daughters, “Tomorrow when you arrive at school, look around, there will be someone new. You don’t have to be their best friend, but go up to them and say hi. Ask if they need help finding a room or to join you at recess.”
My daughters were used to these “suggestions” over the years and were always kind and good sports about the many things I asked them to do. In fact, the phrase, “everyone needs a friend” became kind of a motto at our house. For example, when reviewing a movie, the girls would say, “Mom, you’d like that one, it’s an ‘everyone has a friend’ kind of movie!”
The three of us are adult women now; we don’t have the “everyone needs a friend” talk anymore. But I hope we never forget it! In this day of job transfers, divorces, and moving to take care of aging parents, there are women who need a friend! There are women at your workplace, in your church, and walking in your neighborhood who are looking for connection with other women!
So, maybe it won’t hurt to say this one more time… “tomorrow you may see someone who is sitting alone at the PTA meeting or soccer practice; or walks in alone to church or Bible study. Go up to her and say hi. She doesn’t have to become your best friend, but invite her to sit with you. Everyone needs a friend.”