Children say the darndest things. They say cute and funny things but they also say some really mean things. Emma has a friend Olivia. Olivia is one year older than Emma and they love each other dearly. Most of the time. Yesterday morning Emma and Olivia were playing together and if anyone asked (and even if they didn’t) Olivia introduced Emma as her baby sister. Olivia is blonde…Emma isn’t.

In good times, they are inseparable. Emma worships the ground Olivia walks on and it shows. In bad times, well let’s just say, they’re bad. Yesterday I had the pleasure of having both of them in my company and they were playing and chatting together until Emma did something Olivia didn’t like. Olivia told Emma in no uncertain terms that they weren’t friends anymore and exited stage right (in other words, very dramatically). Emma got up to follow and Olivia turned round and said “You’re not allowed to follow me. You’re not my friend!” I sat and watched Emma’s little heart break. Tears poured down her cheeks and she sobbed. The mother in me wanted to get involved but somehow I knew I shouldn’t.

Soon Emma had found another group of people to entertain. She was singing and clapping her hands. Laughing and talking, without a care in the world. A short while later Olivia was back, calling Emma to play with her. My natural instinct as an adult was to step and say “No, don’t go. She made you cry just now” but I didn’t. Again I let the situation happen as it should. Off Emma went and once again they were BFF’s. Hand in hand they ran around, kissed, swapped sweets and just like that their friendship was as tight as their hugs.

And that’s when it dawned on me that children know a lot more than us adults. Grown ups would never dare tell someone that they’re not their friend any more. It just wouldn’t be right. But we’ll gladly tell other friends and friends of those friends that we’re not XXXX’s friend anymore. We like to hold onto grudges as if they’re the last got-to-have-fashion item on the sale rack. And then like the fashion item, it gets put away safely in the closet. We wear it occasionally for everyone to see. We wash it, iron it and out it back in its safe place. We won’t get rid of it just in case we need it one day, and so, like a grudge, it stays with us forever.

We dwell on the hurt people cause us. We revel in in the unhappiness for days, months, years. We think back to what was said and how it was said. We look forward to seeing that person in the future and really ‘giving them the what-for’. We’re never in the now. We’re looking over our shoulder and way into the distance, never seeing the person standing right in front of you. Sorry and hurting too. Apparently us wise old folk like honesty, but the truth is we can’t handle it. We take offence when someone unfriends us on Facebook or stops following us on Twitter. We, as adults, don’t practice what we preach.

We could all learn a lesson from the kids in our lives – they say what they feel, they remove themselves from the situation (for a short while) and then they come back. If they tell anyone about what happened it’s normally loud and with the unfriended friend close by. But in a blink, everything has been forgiven and forgotten and the ex-BFF’s are BFF’s once again…because really when you think about it there isn’t any time to wallow in the mire when there’s hiding and seeking to be done.

For more of the cute things kids say check out http://cruciality.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/praying-with-and-like-kids/

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One thought on “I’m not your friend anymore…until it’s time to play xxx

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