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You're The Best

Yesterday as I was getting dinner ready I turned on the radio. It was around 5PM and the John Tesh Radio show was on (probably the most frequent radio show I hear). I tuned in just in time to hear dear ol' John tell his listeners about a new trend invading school systems around the country.

"Educators are concerned about bullying and cliques, and think the solution may be to discourage kids from having a best friend.  . . . The New York Times reports that some schools are encouraging kids to have many close friends instead."

'Heaven's above!' I thought, as I sliced into a defrosted chicken breast.

"They’re even taking this one step further. If teachers notice two kids spending too much time together, they’ll make efforts to separate them, and this goes way beyond the school playground.
For instance, at some summer camps, counselors will put the two kids on separate sports teams or seat them at opposite sides of the table during a meal. Schools say they’re not trying to break up close friendships — they just want to encourage courtesy, respect and kindness to all. Teachers think kids interacting with larger groups will help kids feel less exclusion – and there will be less ganging up on one classmate."

I paused to listen, chicken juice dripping onto the counter. He continued on talking about the ramifications of not having a 'best friend' for another few minutes (chicken juice dripping away) and then the music started up again.

I mentally shrugged, 'that must be one of those big city things,' and put it out of my mind.

Later on, as I was lying in bed reading my newest copy of Good Housekeeping I ran across this little snippet in their '50 Ways to Be a Better Parent'

"Strike the phrase "best friend" from your vocabulary. It only sets up unrealistic expectations for your child of finding that one special, perfect pal."

Well, that did it for me. Now I'm here and I've got a thing or two to say about this.

Have we all gone stark, raving mad!?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that close friendships are the very foundation of a stable marriage!

'Unrealistic expectations of finding that one special, perfect pal.'

Unrealistic.... lets just think about that for a second. In fact lets rephrase.

'Allowing people to have close knit relationships sets up unrealistic expectations that it is possible to have someone who cares dearly and personally for just them.'

Oh, why was I so dumb!

Clearly social conformity is much more important than learning to have meaningful, lasting relationships. *note thick sarcasm

Lets look a little more at the negatives of such a movement.

1) Lack of close personal relationships creates people unable to release emotional burdens privately upon supportive people.

2) Putting intimate relationships in a bad light can only lead to more divorce.

3) Teaching children that it is bad to have meaningful, singular relationships hinders the ability to become close to Jesus Christ.

4) When people have no one to bounce personal ideologies and philosophies off of there is no solid way to combat the demands of government and society. i.e. forced agreement to mainstream idea's.

5) The psychological ramifications of not having deep, meaningful relationships has clearly been measured in the massive amounts of public violence inflicted upon the masses by the lonely.

I am really having a hard time controlling the thoughts spinning around in my head. There are so, so, so many ways why this is a bad idea that I can't even type fast enough.

Maybe I should go talk about it with my husband.... oh wait, I'm not allowed to have a best friend.


heather said…
Oh my gosh. Everyone needs a best friend. What are these "experts" thinking??
Anonymous said…
I personally like the idea of my kids having lots of friends. I used to think that I would rather see them have lots of friends than 1 or 2 close or "best" friends.

Now I want them to have both. I think the best friends act as a sounding board and allow the kids to feel support and strength in the choices they make. In short, I agree with what you say on that subject.

I think the idea of having lots of friends helps to make them more rounded people and give them more opportunities.

I actually could write at least a whole page on my feelings about this but I will spare you all that.

Holy Cow!! You're gaining followers like crazy now.
Polly Blevins said…
agreed. THere is no reason someone can't have a best friend or a handful of best friends and still have other friends. Maybe they should focus their study on the child's home life. Parents who love, guide and teach their child are less likely to bully. Having two parents in the home is a huge solution. Does anyone think that the increase of society problems stem back to the number of broken homes?! Go to the real problem and you can solve lots of different societal problems. Maybe parents should parent. That should do the trick! It might not completely eliminate the problem but it would fix it enough that it would not be a society problem any longer. It would be more isolated and they could focus on an individual.
Jennifer said…
Having a best friend does not automatically turn a child into a cliqueish bully. (Is cliqueish a word? And did I spell it correctly?!)

The problem is not best friends, but the lack of adult guidance and supervision. Children need to be taught how to treat other people. Left to their own devices, they'll live down to their worst impulses. That's the human thing to do, after all - we all do that, unless we are deliberately choosing to do otherwise.

Honestly, this doesn't strike me as a legitimate way to teach kids to be kinder. It sounds more like a way to make it easier to supervise large groups of children without having to pay much individual attention to any of them.
Cannwin said…
It sounds like communism! ;)

No seriously. While I think it is healthy for children to have a large variety of friends I do think that everyone needs and deserves a close friend.

Even if that friend is a sibling.

I can't imagine living without close friends.

I've recently been talking with a lot of psychologists and such about child development and one of the things they keep saying, over and over again is that teachers and our school system in general aims at controlling large groups.

They don't teach to each child's style because quite honestly they can't.

So parents have to step in. Actually parents shouldn't have to STEP in they should be the front lines and the teachers should be the second.

The problem is that isn't happening and what we get is this sort of garbage.

So how on earth do you stop it!? It makes me all yucky all over... like when the schools in California passed that law saying teachers had to teach alternative life-styles and then passed a law saying that homeschooling was illegal!

I live in a fairly conservative area of the country and I live in a small town. These problems don't tend to affect (effect?) me, but they will if they continue. And that I don't like.

It makes me want to hole up in a cabin somewhere with my kids and not come out EVER.

But then I wouldn't get to blog. ::sigh::
Holly said…
Just make sure you have a satellite that can link you up to the internet. LOL!!

Affect was the proper spelling for the way you were using it. ;D

I think everyone should be kind and friendly to everyone unless given a direct REASON NOT to be. Then they can still be kind while avoiding contact as much as possible. HEHE!!

CLOSE friendships are important. If there are no close relationships, everything is superficial and a fight for individual attention. My husband and older sister are my best friends in the world!! I can still be kind a friendly to the masses! ;D ((HUGS))
Do people even listen to what comes out of their own mouths? What a ridiculous idea! Besides just seems to be human nature to gravitate to other people and bond. Why deny a characteristic that makes us human? Maybe one day we will all be robots...
Lisa said…
I would go stark raving mad without super close friends.

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