You’ve got a friend in me

 

One of the greatest contributors to a child’s happiness at school, indeed for happiness in life, is friendship. Talking with children about their day at school will more than likely contain some reference to their friends; who they played with, who they didn’t, who was absent, who was mean. If they felt sad during the day it was possibly because someone wouldn’t play, wouldn’t let them play, or was mean.

Getting along with others seems to come naturally to some children, especially to those who see positive social skills modelled by parents and family friends, who are given lots of opportunities to mix with others of all ages, and who are encouraged to express themselves and their feelings. Other children don’t find it so easy, sometimes due to lack of positive role models, but often for other reasons.

Most children require some explicit teaching from time to time, for example to share, take turns and to use friendly words. Many schools incorporate the development of friendship skills into their programs. Some schools, such as one that employed me to write and teach a friendship skills program in years one to three, develop their own programs. Other schools use published materials such as the excellent You Can Do It! program which teaches the social and emotional skills of getting along, organisation, persistence, confidence and resilience.

In the early childhood classrooms of my previous school, we used the songs, puppets and stories included in the You Can Do It! Program. We also involved children in role play and discussion, providing them with opportunities to learn the language and practice the skills in supportive and non-threatening situations. Having a common language with which to discuss feelings, concerns and acceptable responses meant issues were more easily dealt with. More importantly children learned strategies for developing positive relationships and friendships with others. They came to understand their own responses as well as those of others.

SMAG ccbyncnd

I have talked about friendship in many previous posts, including here, here and here. My online friend Anne Goodwin, who blogs at Annecdotal even wrote about it in a guest post here, and I described friendship trees that I used with my class here.

Friendship tree

In this post I want to acknowledge a new friend and a long-time friend. (I can’t say ‘old’. She’s younger than I!)

My new friend is Pauline, The Contented Crafter. At the beginning of last week Pauline announced a very generous giveaway for Christmas which I shared with you here.  Pauline invited readers to nominate someone as a deserving recipient of her beautiful Christmas light catcher. She posted the nominees and their stories here and invited readers to vote for the two they would most like to receive the light catcher.

pizap1

I nominated Robin, a friend of over thirty years. That must be deserving of an award in itself! In case you missed her story on Pauline’s blog, I include it here so that you can understand why I value her friendship so highly.

I have a wonderful friend for whom this beautiful light catcher would be a perfect gift. Each of its strands holds a special significance, as if Pauline had her in mind.

She gifted her friendship to me more than thirty years ago and, thanks to a miracle and the protection of angels, it is a gift that continues.

Over twenty years ago, on my birthday, she was involved in a serious car accident. My birthday became her life day, a constant reminder that life and each passing year is a precious gift. 

Her many injuries, requiring numerous surgeries over the years, did not injure her bright, cheerful nature and positive outlook on life. Although she lives with constant pain you wouldn’t know unless you asked, and then only if she chose to tell you.

She has an enormous generous and loving heart, and her home is warm and welcoming. Family, especially her two grown daughters and her dear Mum who passed this year, is important to her. She loves to bake and craft individual gifts for her family and friends. She is always busily thinking of others.

She is a gifted musician and amazing music teacher. She plays the flute and sings like a Robin. She incorporates music and fun into classes for children and lessons for adults learning English. All come to her classes eager to learn and leave singing with joy and acceptance.

At Christmas the family gather round to decorate the tree and “remember the moments” marked by ornaments made by smaller hands, collected on travels, or signifying achievements and occasions like graduations and engagements.

I know my friend would treasure this beautiful light catcher as another reminder of life’s precious gifts and moments that make it magic. Thank you Pauline for the opportunity to express openly how much I value her friendship.

You can find out more about Robin on her website and even purchase her wonderful CD “Notes from Squire Street”.

Robin - Notes from Squire Street

I am very excited to say that Robin is included in Pauline’s list of winners. In fact Pauline’s generosity is being extended to many of the nominees, and even to one for commenting on the post. Very soon Pauline’s light catchers will be dispersing rainbow light of friendship and joy around the world. I think that is a beautiful and generous gesture.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

20 thoughts on “You’ve got a friend in me

  1. Sherri

    At last I am able to visit you Norah, and how lovely to read such a beautiful friendship post (and I haven’t forgotten about ‘that’ post about online friendships…). I am thrilled that Robin is your very dear friend and that you nominated her, I had no idea. I was so moved by her story and your friendship when I read it on Pauline’s blog. And I am so glad that I met you here, I value your friendship greatly. Hugs and SMAG to you dear Norah 🙂 ❤

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Sherri. It means a lot to me. I am fortunate to have had many wonderful people join me on my travels through life. Robin is one of them. You are another. Hugs and S.M.A.G. to you too, Sherri. I was disappointed I couldn’t nominate more for Pauline’s competition. I don’t think she put a limit on it, but if I went further, I wouldn’t have known where to stop!
      Look after yourself beautiful lady. I hope things have started to settle down for you. 🙂

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  2. rosemariethrupposie

    Good morning Norah. Thankyou for making me reflect upon the gift of friendship, sitting here on a beautiful Sunday morning looking out over the Glasshouse Mountains. Giving friendship can be easy but it an also be difficult with many challenges. It can consume time and energy. Continuing friendship, lifelong friendship requires commitment, empathy, depth of understanding of the human spirit. Friends have benefits but they also come with challenges. This is why schools need to have programs for teaching about friendship. Friendship is different from being an acquaintance or ‘befriending’ someone on Facebook. It is more than being the most popular. It is more than having 400 friends on Facebook.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Rosie, thank you for taking the time away from your relaxation and view over the Glasshouse Mountains to comment on my blog post. Your sentiment and words ring true. True friendship goes much deeper than “likes” on Facebook. Friendship takes time and requires effort. Even when we meet someone with whom we immediately click, we still have to make an effort to develop and maintain the friendship. Fortunately friendship is a gift that can be held unopened for months and even years, but as soon as it is opened it is like it had never been away.

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      1. rosemariethrupp

        Norah,

        Yes, I love it when I get that feeling of meeting a friend with whom I have not caught up for a long long time and when you see them, it is all there again as if no time has passed. It is a beautiful warm feeling.

        Friendship is friendship that extends through the rough and tough times and the easy, good times. It is being there when it is not easy to be there; going the distance at challenging times.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you, Rosie, for sharing your wisdom about friendship. You have expressed much truth there, and I think the true test of friendship is whether it can make it through the tough times.
          Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  3. Annecdotist

    Beautiful how you have celebrated your friendship with Robin and to then have that endorsed by Pauline. SMAG Indeed! And thanks for your online friendship and the mention of my guest post.
    I think it’s great that you had programmes teach children how to make friends – social skills are such an asset but in my day they were expected to come naturally and hard luck if you didn’t have the skills. Reminds me also of the social skills groups we used to run for the longstay psychiatric patients (I think I learnt a lot from them myself) which I’ve been looking at a bit again for my WIP.
    I agree with Bec – worth making those friendship programmes more widely available to teachers (as long as they pay you).

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much, Anne. I like to acknowledge people when I can. It is important to do so when they know how much we think of them. A special aunt passed a few weeks ago and I hadn’t spoken to her since last Christmas. I was disappointed that I hadn’t made more of an effort to see her and hadn’t realised she was unwell. We said nice things about her at her funeral but, although I had told her many times how much her friendship meant to me, I was disappointed I hadn’t had the chance for final farewells.
      It is difficult to teach social skills. I know they didn’t/don’t necessarily come easily to me either. Like many things, I had to work hard at it. It would have been easy for me to be a recluse, always fearful of social situations, I think. I’m pleased I made the effort. Life is more fun with friends. We see a young fellow at a cafe that we go to sometimes. He knows what he is supposed to do in making chit-chat with the customers. He smiles and is friendly, but there is something just not quite right about his interactions. It is a shame, because he does try hard. I imagine social skills could be quite difficult for psychiatric patients, particularly depending on their illness and the stage experienced at the time.
      I think I have ideas for friendship skills on my list of resources for my website. I hope I will get a few subscribers when I go “live” in January. 🙂

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      1. Annecdotist

        Oh, yes, that is painful to see when someone is doing the right things but is still socially awkward – it’s amazing how subtle these skills are.
        Very exciting that your website is almost ready, you’re bound to have fun with that.

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  4. thecontentedcrafter

    Hello Norah, what a lovely post. Thank you for so generously mentioning my little giveaway again 🙂 I feel I must say to you that I am really just acknowledging all the blessings that have been heaped on me over this past year, so many via my blogging community. I do not have much, but I can create and I can share what I create. I feel so strongly that in a world which is so often hooked into the fearful and the negative it is imperative to spread some light and fun wherever I can. It is a mostly frivolous offering, but with a serious intent behind it. It does not offer warmth, comfort or a home to a refugee, it changes nothing that is wrong with the world – but I hope it sends a message that there is joy in giving that the whole community can share and take part in. That is all. I am cheered by your enthusiasm for your friend Robin’s small win – I do hope she will enjoy it when it arrives. ❤

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline. You may feel your gesture is small, but the message it carries is worthy and inspirational. I thank you sincerely for it. No, no home for a refugee perhaps, but maybe it will soften the hearts of others and who knows where that may lead. One small act of kindness may change the world in ways we never know.

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  5. Charli Mills

    What a wonderful gift friendship is, and to honor a friend and make a new one all together is like a pile of gifts! You have an amazing friend who shares your “life day” and outlook on life. Glad to be in your circle of SMAG!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Friendship is the best gift! I have been fortunate to receive many such gifts on my journey through life. Each adds a different perspective and new way of appreciating others, the world and self. I count you among my gifts. 🙂

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  6. Bec

    Hi Nor, a lovely post and an important theme! Great to see you celebrating the wonderful friendship you have with the wonderful Robin. Very nice to hear about Pauline’s generosity too.

    I wonder if you might consider applying your expertise in the area of encouraging friendship-positive behaviours into some resources!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Bec. Both Robin and Pauline are very special ladies. I have been lucky to meet many wonderful people throughout my life.
      I will certainly consider your suggestion. It’s on the list. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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