all I needed to know about FRIENDSHIP…I learned in a computer lab full of kindergarteners!

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Today is the first day back from Spring Break for my students.

It’s always a hard transition back into school, so I didn’t make them do anything in the computer lab that required them to listen to Mrs. Good “wha wha wha wha”, or teach as I like to call it.

I gave them the opportunity to do an educational activity – which translates to “game” in their minds.

This has been an exercise in human behavior for me since I took this job at the beginning of this school year.

I finally put it all together today, while eavesdropping on their conversations.

They sit in pairs in the computer lab and I haven’t dictated where they sit for the last several months.

Inevitably they sit by their friend and I am treated to several examples of friendship in a short 25 minutes.

What I discovered this morning is friendships don’t change all that much from when we are 5 to when we are 35.

Here’s what I heard as the students opened their computer programs:

“Let’s go here!” – The leader in the friendship tells the follower what is going to happen, fully expecting the follower to do what they say.  The follower looks at the leaders computer screen and then at their own, thinking they really wanted to go somewhere else, but do they risk saying anything.  The leader repeats the directive and the follower gives in. 

Sad to say, but this pattern will repeat itself over and over in these two students lives until they are adults most likely!

Unless…

“I’m going on something else.  Are you?” – The follower has grown little tiny wings.  It is a small step at being their own leader.  There is that tiny follower voice asking, “If I do something on my own, will you still be my friend?”  The results are about 50/50.  Some students continue on with their own activity if the leader tells them no and others cave to the pressure of being liked and stay on the same activity as the leader. 

This is not too far from some adult friendships I’ve witnessed and some I’ve had!

Until…

“We can still be friends if we don’t do the same thing!” – This was said with such compassion and kindness.  It gave me hope and made me want to be like a 5-yr old.  It was an affirmation that said I will sit beside you and enjoy what I want to, but will take time to be excited with you when you find something cool.  It expressed that sometimes what you are doing will be so interesting to us both that we will want to share it together. Occasionally we will be so interested in our own activity we will not need each to say anything. 

Isn’t that the kind of friendship we all want? And the kind of friend we should aspire to be?

Thank you…Mrs. Scott’s Class for teaching me all I needed to know about friendship this morning!!

Happy Monday!

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