Monday, June 21, 2010

Best Friends Not Allowed

To be honest, I am not even sure what to say about mind is screaming about a hundred different things all at once.

While listening to public radio today, I heard a discussion about best friends.  Apparently, there was an article in the New York Times last week that stated many schools and child "experts" have decided that best friends amongst kids are a bad thing.  There are schools and camps who do things to purposely dissuade and undermine such friendships.


Here's a link to the article, "The End of the Best Friend."  Go read it and come back.

Are you reeling?

Before I go farther let me say, we homeschool our kids.  So, yes, I am probably a bit out of touch in terms of the whole bullying problem in schools I so often hear discussed.  I mean really, our big bully here at our school is probably our two year old.  She is pretty tough.  However, even if I am a bit out of touch with the school scene, this just seems wrong on so many levels.

I think best friends, or at the very least, a small group of very close friends is essential to kids as they grow up.  If everyone is friends with everyone else, where will kids learn how to be in close relationships with others?  Where will they learn how to give and take or how to share in another's grief or happiness or how to to put someone else's needs above your own in the really tough times?  I could go on and on...

Yes, these are all relational skills the Big Guy and I want our children to learn at home first and foremost.  We want our kids to learn how to be in healthy, loving, Godly relationships with each other so that they'll be ready to have such friendships outside of our immediate family.  Truth be told, being friends with siblings wasn't one of the reasons we started homeschooling, but it is certainly one of the greatest benefits we've seen from homeschooling.  But they've got to learn to find and grow such friendships outside of their family as well! 

How desolate my past would seem had I been discouraged in seeking out special "best" friendships with others!  In fact, had I been so discourage, how desolate would my present and future would seem as well.

I'm rambling a bit...I'd love hear other's thoughts on this...


  1. Ultimately I see this article as yet another example of how far our culture has strayed from its Christian roots. When one has a true friendship with Christ, that friendship completes you, and the other friendships in your life complement you. But in our society, where largely millions have no relationship with Christ, then one attmepts to make one's friends complete them. This would of course set the stage for unhealthy friendships. Selfish friendships with only "my happiness" and "my completeness" in mind. Hence we have so many divorces, unwed teen moms, abortion, promiscuity,bullies, etc. When our culture reclaims itself for Christ, and we keep Christ at the center of our lives, healthy friendships will follow. And then we won't need to look to the "educational experts" to "mend" our kids.

  2. Wow, Ellie. Great reply.

    Ruth had Naomi. David had Jonathan. 1 John openly declares the term 'dear friends' several times. We see the large network of friends in Christ and we see the one-one one in scripture as well. May we have both.

    I disagree with the over-scheduled family and their lack of purposeful friendships. Woe be it that we would ever buy into that.

    Great post, Wendy. Thank you.

  3. A best friend can save a kid's life! I'd never steer a kid from close friendship and connection.

    However, I suppose the only time I think a tight friendship can be a problem is when other kids are excluded. I encourage my kids to be close to their nearest and dearest, but to be considerate of others who might be having the experience of only being on the outside looking in.

    I look forward to reading this article closely. Thanks for the post.

  4. Ellie, Melissa and Anj,

    Good points all. The Bible totally supports friendship for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is the hope a friend can provide.

    Our kids (and even us adults) do need to be mindful of others who aren't our "best" friends. This is being loving. However, and this is one of the parts of the article that floors me, it seems there are places where they seek ways to seperate good friends because such friendships hurt the feelings of others. How can this be good or just?

    "Hey! You've got a special friend there. That's not fair to everyone else." Nope, this line of thinking doesn't work for me.

  5. Aargh! What is wrong with these grown-ups? Yes, it does make me mad - the way these adults (particularly school officials) think it's even within their "job description" to try to control every aspect of kids' lives like this. I really resonated with the two (both psychologists, I believe) who disagreed with this concept. One said, "If you’re mucking around too much in the lives of kids who are just experiencing normal social pain, you shouldn’t be.” For heaven's sakes, how will young people learn about intimate relationships if they never have any?!

  6. It seems like they should be examining "cliques" instead of "best friends."