I don’t even know when it happened.
We live in a society that places incredible value on equalizing everyone– whether we’ve all earned it or not. Somehow, we should all be entitled to all the exact same things and no one should ever notice if our behavior is, how shall I say, NOT in line with what one might expect from a decent, contributing human being.
This is, in a weird way, seeping into our schools, too. From preschool, our children are being told, “We are all friends!” “These are all your friends.” “Which little friend will we pair you with today?” and on and on.
I get it. We’re trying to push back against cliques, exclusivity, and bullying. And you know what? That’s awesome. We SHOULD try to fight those things because, quite frankly, they are not qualities demonstrated by the aforementioned decent human beings.
But here’s the problem.
My children have no idea what “friend” even means because of the definition the school is providing.
- My six-year-old climbed off the summer school bus, tears in her eyes. Her “friend” had pushed her into saying a word (the meaning of which my child didn’t even know) and she had, in turn, gotten in trouble with the bus driver.
- This same “friend” pulled my daughter’s pants down on the playground and mocked her because they were so baggy on her skinny frame.
- Whispering, my little girl asked me to help wash her hair. “There’s sand in it, Mommy… because Ellianna poured sand over my head at recess…”
It leaves me furious. “Why?” I demand, “WHY are you still playing with this little girl?”
The words come with wide innocent eyes, “Because she’s my friend.”
As a parent, I’m fighting hard to redefine “friend” to my children. Ellianna? Is not a friend. The little boy who makes fun of my son’s buddy when he doesn’t get 100% on a spelling test? NOT a friend. Friends simply do not treat you that way.
I object to the idea that “we’re all friends.” Quite frankly, we’re not.
We are all peers and you should treat your peers with kindness and respect. All people are entitled to be treated with dignity.
This is what I wish they were teaching my children.