We Just Want to Belong

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we just want to belong

When it comes to friendships I tend to be a drifter.

I don’t actually have a best friend. My best friend is Jacob.

I do have close relationships with friends that if there was ever a family emergency or a Birthday celebration, they would be there in a heartbeat. We meet every month or so and sometimes less depending on how busy family life is.

But I also like to drift around different friendship groups.

It took me my whole entire school life to work out that that’s how I liked to roll. I not only enjoy my own company, but I like to get to know many and varied people, while having one or two close friendships to know where I belong. I don’t like to stick to one group or get stuck in a click. I like to be inclusive, not exclusive when it comes to friends.

My Esther is exactly the same. At Kindy she would happily play by herself, oblivious to what was happening around her, or she’d play with the boys (not sure if that’s preparing her to be a future tradie?). When it came to morning tea and lunch time, Esther would really come out of her shell and talk to everyone.

At kids church, I’ve had leaders tell me how inclusive Esther is as she will always look out for the new kids.

That made my heart sing because that’s who I like to be and it’s a trait I’m proud of Esther inheriting.

But despite having a great first week at school and having the best day of her life, she told me no one wanted to play with her and she didn’t have any friends.
Of course as a mum that pulled at my heart because we all want out kids to belong and having friends is important.

I also know Esther is a drifter too. Always inclusive, never exclusive.

Every day last week and part of this week Esther told me she didn’t have friends yet and no one wanted to play tag with her.
I told her it would take many months to build up friendships, but in the meantime find the kids that were by themselves, wandering the playground alone.

It seems Esther hasn’t been the only one worried about finding friends at school. Fat Mum Slim shared this post yesterday which resonated with me, as did Mummy Wife Me on Facebook about her Preppie.

Immediately as a mum, we want to step in to help our child by talking to the teacher, but our kids need to learn how to make friendships on their own and the best way to do that is by example.

When I picked Esther up from school last Wednesday, she greeted me by telling me she had the best day of her life, followed by not having anyone to play with. I laughed because I know friends take time to flourish, but I silently prayed for Esther to make lasting friendships at her school.

That afternoon, while walking back home, I told the girls they could play in the playground near our house.

There was another little girl from Esther’s school with her Nanna doing the same thing. We worked out this school girl was in the grade above Esther, but they got along so well in the playground. (I also talked to the Nanna and found out her children went to the same school I did, and she attended the same church as my uncle and auntie. Small world!)

Since that chance encounter at the playground, this particular girl has found Esther at lunchtime to say hi or invite her to play with her friends.
Yesterday afternoon as I was pushing the semi-trailer pram to Esther’s classroom, the girl came up to me with a big smile and asked if she could walk with me to pick up Esther to say hi.

My heart sang. Another grade one boy came along to meet Esther and when we picked Esther up, she was a bit oblivious she had a welcoming party.
Earlier this week, when walking to school, one mum saw me and waited because her daughter was in Esther’s class and she asked her mum if they could stop and wait so she could walk with her friend from class.

Friendships and getting to know new people takes time and its little instances like these that help those friendships to form.

I have no doubt Esther will make great friends. She has my DNA, but it will take time to develop the friendships and I’m happy to sit by the sidelines, and offer advice when needed.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. I bring all my concerns to God. It was God’s intention for us to have friends and to develop relationships so we can belong and feel supported in this crazy life.

If you’re a mum, with a child who is struggling to find where they fit in at school, or trying to make friends, you’re not alone. Pray for your children. Pray for future friendships. Encourage your children to find the kids that are alone in the playground, as often they are wishing for someone to strike a friendship with too.

How are your kids at making friends? What do you do as a parent when your child tells you they have no friends?

I’m linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF.