A True Friend for Some

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I have always been mindful of how much any one student has had to “help” or befriend Liam. I want to make sure that the other child has a choice and is enjoying Liam’s company in some way – so the relationship is not a job or chore that becomes burdensome.

In fourth grade, Liam developed his first “best” friend. They are still friends today, which is how I know that it was mutual and equally beneficial. This child’s heart is huge and generous. He is an extremely kind soul.

At first, I was worried that he was just being made to be Liam’s friend because he was such a nice kid. As time went on, his parents encouraged the friendship and the boys spent time together outside of school. While they are very different in some ways, they connect and have some activities in common.

At the same time, in fourth grade, another student, who was often paired with Liam, did not feel the same way. He and Liam started to feel competitive with each other as the only two students playing a certain instrument.

Eventually, the student’s mom asked the school to keep them apart. She felt that her child was doing all of the helping and was being “held back” by Liam.

When I found this out, it confirmed my worst fears. Kids saw being with Liam as a burden.

I had to remind myself that Liam had a great many things to offer a friendship. Maybe not rapt interest in what you have to say. Maybe a bit too much talk about video games.

However, he’s been a helpful math tutor.

He’s a devoted, responsible group-mate.

He’s kind and friendly.

He is genuinely happy in life.

Liam will not be able to be friends with everyone.

But, being friends with Liam has its rewards.

6 thoughts on “A True Friend for Some

  1. Love your last line. I have always thought of a friend as someone who knows all about you and still likes you. It is unfortunate that some people base friendship on what the other person can do for him/her. Glad Liam has found a true friend. The number of friends is not as important as having a true friend.

  2. Friendships definitely need to grow, and not everyone will find the value in everything a friend has to offer. Liam does have a lot to offer, and as you say, the fact that he developed a long time friendship attests to that.

  3. What a great description of your son and what he has to offer, Aileen. Most people have many acquaintances and just a small handful of friends. It sounds like Liam found a good one in fourth grade! The way you tell this facet of Liam’s life is beautiful.

  4. I love your last line about the value of being a friend to Liam. No one person can be friends with everyone in the same way. I think Liam will find his posse, as we all do. With an understanding parent like you, I’m sure he knows this explicitly.

  5. I love how you structured this piece – the balance came through perfectly. My father always said, “Everyone’s greatest strength is their greatest weakness and their greatest weakness is their greatest strength.” I think this is really true and you bring it to life in your view of friendship and of Liam. Thanks for sharing – we all have something to learn.

  6. My heart swelled with happiness when you mentioned all of the things Liam has to offer another child. There is so very much. He just needs to be with the right people. That kid — the one whose mom asked not to have him paired with Liam because he was holding him back — is at a loss.

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