22 Years

For the last number of years on my birthday, I find myself reminiscing with my best friend about how long we’ve been friends. 22 years. More than half of our lives. We became friends in university. I was in my second year there, and the leader of the Social Committee, and he was beginning his first and on the same floor as me. I think we became closer when he and some of his friends decided to stay back in residence for a Games Night instead of heading off dancing and to the pub. This connection was the start of many more years to come.

I think about how our friendship has evolved over the years. Even in the way that we keep in touch.

  • We started with phone calls.
  • This moved to emails.
  • And now it’s about texting.

We don’t see each other often — living in two different cities now makes the face-to-face time more challenging — but somehow we still find a way to make time for each other. It was this thinking that inspired my blog post.

For you see, good friendships — strong friendships — take time and effort from everyone involved.

  • We needed to adjust our modes of communication over the years.
  • We needed to find a way to stay in touch when our work schedules and personal lives varied.
  • We needed to figure out how to work through problems when distance and communication methods were not always the preferred ones.
  • We had to take moments to reminisce. Remembering the good times, the funny stories, and the special anecdotes have value.

  • We had to laugh lots. Laughter is important, even if it’s an LOL or a 🙂 instead of the guffaw that we hear.

I reflect on this friendship, for I also teach some of our youngest learners. My teaching partner, Paula, and I not only support the development of academic skills, but also social ones. Both are incredibly important. While we may be there to model how to …

  • enter play,
  • engage with others,
  • and solve problems,

I’m also thinking more about how we give kids a chance to work through all three things on their own. For while we want to teach these skills, I also think we want students to understand that social learning is hard learning. Making and keeping friends takes time, compromise, working through non-ideal situations, and sometimes small breaks apart. 

I wonder now if it took me until university, and being far away from my parents — who always helped me navigate these more challenging social situations of the past — for me to figure out how to really “do friendship” on my own. Did it need to take this long though? How do we support students in developing friendships while also giving them opportunities to try and fail independently? It took me 20 years of my life to get the very best kind of best friend, but I’ve appreciated this friendship every year since. And maybe, in its own way, our friendship helped me develop much better friendships with others too. What about you?

Aviva

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