“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it.
But I always add, “It’s true.”
It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand up for others, the forgiving and empathetic kids.
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Today at the park a mom I recognized from school came over to greet me. Excited and eager to talk she said, “I’m glad I ran into you. My daughter told me a story I just had to share.”
Our girls are in first grade together. Her daughter’s shy—friendly but slow to warm up. She went out on a limb that day at school, wanting to make a new friend. She went up to a classmate and said, “Hey can I play? I want to be your friend.”
The classmate, in true mean-girl fashion, responded with a no and an eye roll.
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In stepped my girl, she stopped the conversation right there and let them both know everyone can play. “If Laura can’t play then neither will I, but if you let Laura play too we can all have fun.”
Those are the words of a kind child, a thoughtful child, one who knows “when someone needs a friend, be one.”
That day Laura went home happy with two new friends. And my daughter experienced the happiness that comes along with taking care of others. And I will sleep soundly knowing I’m raising a good one who will continue to make the world a better place.
If someone needs a friend, be one.