Teaching the Rituals of Friendship

Teaching the Rituals of Friendship

When we are children, we understand the rituals of friendship so much better than we do as adults. We play down at the creek and hunt for pebbles, comparing them for beauty, competing with our friends for the prettiest ones, painting them in bright colors to give away as gifts. Sometimes little children swear allegiances of friendship in the most sincere possible way and never forget those early promises of eternal friendship. Others put them aside and remember them late in life; forgotten and dusty promises.

Friendship rituals might be promises or tokens or even pacts made between love struck teenagers. As we grow up, we lose so many of the sentimental emotions that accompany our devotion in early friendship. Our simple affections and friendships in childhood lay in a neglected and yellowing photo album and we move away to be educated and find work and make families; leaving our friends at the station and promising to write every week, then every month, and finally sending the occasional sad Christmas card to mark one of the deepest and most valuable friendships of our lives.

Shame on us. As we mature, we begin to recover our values when it comes to keeping friendship alive. We remember all those sunny afternoons paddling in the creek with a good friend by our side and have the honesty to realise not many of our friendships match up to that innocent and selfless love we had for the best friend we could wish for.

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We hear the expression, ‘You know who your friends are when you are in trouble,’ so often yet we still neglect our friends, leaving them to wonder what we are doing and even worse, not enquiring how they are, when a phone call or letter would take just a few minutes: even better, to exchange a friendship gift that we can touch and keep close to us to remind us of how much a friend means to us.