Friends and Foes
Blog – 10/13/11 Of Friends and Foes
In second grade having friends is a big deal. Who you eat with at lunch and who you play with on the playground have a large effect on how your day is going to go. The person sitting next to you in Math class that you don’t like, and the person sitting next to you that you do like in English, can really affect your outlook on life.
Not only that, but as a teacher, I know that who my kids sit next to will also affect how much tattle telling comes my way. Consequently, I make an effort to arrange my desks strategically. Not just so that my students will sit next to people they like, but also so they will sit next to people they don’t like. Call me cruel, but I believe that it’s important that they learn how to get along with those they don’t like even from an early age. They may not like them, but I at least hope to teach them how to respect one another and work together. I have this crazy idea that just maybe if we teach our children how to get along, perhaps when they become adults they will know how to do the same, so when these future congressmen and congresswomen are making laws, they will learn how to put aside their petty differences and do what’s best for all of their constituents, including old people like me. I’m still young and idealistic enough, though, to believe that if they can learn to work together as seven year olds, maybe when they’re running the church they will be so unified that an unbelieving world will take notice and want to get to know the God whom they serve.
However, some times in my classroom my cruel reign of terror ceases, and I let them sit next to their friends. This can be every bit as big of a challenge, as it becomes hard for them to focus because they have important matters to discuss, like who’s going to who’s birthday party and which superhero is the best. Nevertheless, I think fostering friendship is important, and I want my students to have the chance to be friends in class. Then, at least, I can give them advice on how to be a friend, advice that I often sorely need to take. I think it’s funny in second grade how important friends are, but somehow, 20 or 30 years later we as adults tend to forget. We rarely pass notes to our BFF’s anymore (if we even have any) and are too often content to sit at our cubicles and at lunch alone (Which I did today again, sadly). I continue to be a second grade teacher/learner. I hope to help steer this new generation of young leaders in the right direction, teaching them patience, respect, love for each other, and how to be a good friend. At the same time it seems, they’re teaching me how to do the same.