From the Chaplain - FRIENDSHIP
Friendship is one of the most important aspects of our students lives here at Middle School. It is also one of the most common areas of stress and difficulty that we come across. As a School we are passionate about our students having a growth mindset – this applies not only to our academic learning, but learning in so many different areas of life – including friendship.
Each time I come across a student or a group of students who are concerned about friendship, I remind them of this really important truth – we are all still learning!
The reality is that we cannot expect ALL our students to get along ALL of the time; this is an unrealistic expectation that we cannot place upon them. However, we do encourage our students to be friendly TO everyone, even if they can’t be friends WITH everyone. If we were to give up on a friendship when we are disappointed, hurt, let down or frustrated with a friend – then we may find ourselves without friends quite quickly.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
I love the scripture above as it gives such great advice regarding friendship – clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Let’s encourage our students to ‘put on’ these traits. Making allowance for each other’s faults – this acknowledges that no-one is perfect – we are ALL going to make mistakes, and when it happens it doesn't mean we are going to walk away.
Forgive anyone that offends you – This can be a very difficult but powerful concept. Forgiveness is not about excusing someone’s behavior, but it is about choosing to not let those behaviours or actions negatively affect my life – and again, acknowledging that the other person isn’t perfect.
Clothe yourself in love, which binds us all together in unity – Love is the ultimate, isn’t it? We have heard it said ‘Love makes the World go ‘round’. Here, the scripture reminds us that love brings unity. So many times I have asked students – do you want to give up on this friendship? And 99% of the time the answer is NO! I love this, because it shows that they value and cherish their friends, even if they find the friendship difficult at times. This is the attitude of young people that I love. They are so willing to forgive and move on if they are encouraged to do so. Sometimes, all they need are a few tools to help them get there.
This year at Middle School we are implementing restorative practices to help our students LEARN how to restore their friendships, so that when they do fall out with friends, they have learned new tools with how to deal with it and move on.
We encourage you as parents, to keep having conversations with your children about how to be a good friend. As we do this, let’s remember to encourage our students to be kind, humble, gentle and patient, to make allowance for each others imperfections, to forgive and most of all to seek to restore broken friendships when possible.
Georgie Kettle, Chaplain