5 Things I Hope to Teach My Daughter About Friendship

As parents, it can be difficult to find friends who share similar parenting philosophies, especially on days when it seems nearly impossible to even get out of the house. This topic is definitely not new here at TOBB, because frankly, many of us struggle with finding a sense of community. Rebecca wrote about finding like-minded mamas, and I shared my struggle to find mommy friends. Thank goodness for the internet or many of us would feel even more isolated.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately, however, is what I hope to teach my daughter about friendship and community. Should we ONLY seek out friendships with those who are similar to us? I should hope not, because how can we learn? As a former high school teacher who taught World Religions, I found that regardless of religious affiliation, many of my students were apprehensive to show an educational interest in other religions. Maybe they were afraid it would challenge their deeply held beliefs.

I think many of us, myself included, fall into the trap of being afraid to befriend those who are different from us in fear of rejection or of feeling challenged. It’s easy to cling to what is familiar, but for the sake of my daughter, who is growing up in a multi-cultural/religious/racial world, I know in my heart that it is time for me to reach outside my comfort zone. I hope to teach my daughter that:

  • Friendship built on mutual respect is far stronger than one built on mutual characteristics. I’ve found that over the years, my own beliefs have changed as have those of my friends. What helped us maintain our friendship was a common respect.
  • Each person is an individual worth getting to know. Even if a friendship doesn’t form, what can I learn from the elderly woman in my apartment building? How can I help the young single mother across the hall? Some of the friendships I’ve most valued over the years are the ones I least expected to make.
  • A friendship may not last, but can still have value. A friendship may not last for very long, but its impact can last for a lifetime. Different people enter and leave our lives for different reasons, and we have no way of knowing why. Instead of questioning the reason, cherish the time, however short it may be.
  • Listening to others is one of the greatest tools we possess. Opening our ears and hearts to truly hear what another is saying is one of the most rewarding experiences. It can be difficult for many of us (myself included) to play a supporting role in a conversation. Learn to love and embrace others by quietly listening.
  • Look others in the eye. One of the most important things I hope to impart to my daughter is to look others in the eye. Lead by example and put down the cell phone. Take the time to respectfully share a gaze with another and show them that they have value.

What values do you hope to pass on to your children about community and friendship?
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Kate misses her old, diverse neighborhood where neighbors cooked out together and a walk around the block took an hour due to all of the impromptu conversations. She and her family currently live in an apartment, but are on the search for a home and neighborhood where they can build community.

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One thought on “5 Things I Hope to Teach My Daughter About Friendship”

  1. This is a great topic, Kate. I feel like I have many “tribes” – my Christian friends, my “AP” mama friends, my high school friends, and friends I’ve picked up along the way, throughout the years–each with a special something that initially drew us to them, but so very different in many other ways–and that’s what I love! Anabella learns so much from the friends that are most unlike us. =) ~Megan

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