Last week, I read that the $24,000-a-year prep school Prince George attends discourages students from having best friends:
“…he will learn to ‘be kind,’ acquire ‘confidence, leadership and humility’ and not have a best friend to prevent other children having hurt feelings” (The Guardian).
Boy, have I’ve been stewing on that one.
We’ve got one kid with a birthday coming up, which always raises the question of who’s invited to the party. Last year’s friends, brand-new school friends, neighborhood friends, my own friends’ kids? Who are we prioritizing?
Because really, we’re still a we. At seven, mom still helps you navigate the decision of which friends make the cut. And the whole Prince-George-can’t have-best-friends thing got me to thinking about where we draw the line for kids.
Should we let them obsess over a particular friend who may be here today, gone tomorrow, leaving us with nothing but heartache?
I had a friend like that in the first grade—just my daughter’s age, actually. We went to different schools during the week, but on the weekend and over the summer, we were on it. I’m talking unplanned multi-night sleepovers that involved borrowing each other’s underwear. She worked on her tan all summer in our pool, and I celebrated my first Shabbat dinner with her family.
Until one school year, she just stopped calling.
My mom encouraged me to reach out, so I did. I called and asked if she wanted to play, but she said they had plans, indefinitely. Way to burst my bubble.
I remember having so many questions, first and foremost, What did I do wrong?
So should we be forcing our kids to diversify? Plan playdates with a bunch of different kids who challenge them to play and think and act differently?
Is George’s not being allowed to have a best friend a travesty? Or are some kids too young for the responsibility that comes with putting all your eggs in one basket? And at what point are adults no longer part of the decision-making process on that one?
Moms, I want to hear your thoughts! Leave me a reply below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.