Cate bumped her head into a guy’s arm at Qdoba last week, causing his drink to drop to the ground. It splattered on Cate’s legs and prompted some tears. A combination of embarrassment and frustration, a teary Cate buried her face into my shoulder.
Her friend Malaika walked over to my other side, made eye contact, and said, “I know how you feel …” before she and her mom told a story of Malaika accidentally spitting her gum into another woman’s hair while cheering at a basketball game. They laughed at the story now as they retold it.
Cate wasn’t laughing yet but she had a friend who came along side her in the midst of her embarrassment and frustration. The words “I know how you feel …” softened Cate’s demeanor.
Malaika walked with Cate into the bathroom, where they washed off her soda-splattered legs. My girl walked out cleaner and happier.
And I caught a glimpse of friendship working its transforming power.
I’m thankful for this season that has given us more time with Malaika and her parents as our girls play soccer together and the dads coach together. Without launching into Michael W. Smith’s “Friends are friends forever …,” I have learned friends have to adapt as seasons change. And, yes, sometimes that’s hard. Schedules, commitments and priorities sometimes work against the logistics of friendships. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Schedule a play date after school at the park. Meet for breakfast instead of lunch. Get together with your friend’s family on the weekend. Email. Vox. Text. Call. What you used to do might not always work. But friendships do withstand the test of time if you invest yourself.
It’s important to teach kids to help with chores around the house, how to read and make scrambled eggs, when to say please and thank you. But it’s also important to teach them how to be a friend and appreciate when someone is a friend to them. Being a friend and appreciating friends is a life-long process, but I really believe it’s never too early to start.
Joining Holley Gerth for her weekly dose of encouragement at Coffee for Your Heart and Lyli Dunbar for Thought-Provoking Thursday.
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