During our Mesopotamian theme, the Wellness block included a workshop about bowling, a sport that has its roots in ancient Mesopotamia. A young piano student of mine, Julio, was in the Wellness class, and told me the following story.
Julio ended upon the opposite team from Trent, a new kid whom he liked and with whom he was working on developing a friendship. Being a friend to Trent was very important to Julio, as we’ll see. Here is what he told me.
“My team won,” said Julio. “I was happy, but I also wanted Trent to win, but he was on the team that lost. So I told him that he was a winner too, because he’s my friend.”
I was very proud of Julio. He was a good winner. Instead of boasting, he chose to share his triumph with someone on the losing team. He had anticipated that his friend might be feeling disappointed, and shown kindness by reaching out to help make him feel better. We can all take a lesson from Julio about what it means to be a friend.
In 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills, Lawrence Shapiro suggests having students brainstorm answers to the question, “What does it mean to be a friend to someone?” For Julio, being a friend meant considering Trent’s feelings, offering him consolation, and reminding him that he was valuable. Shapiro’s book lists some other answers that kids have given:
Treat your friends the way you want to be treated.
When your friend is talking to you, always pay attention.
If your friend tells you a secret, keep it. Don’t tell anyone.
Always tell your friend the truth.
Always stick up for your friend.
What about your own child? If you ask them the same question, what will they say?