“Pick his friends while you still can.”

A few weeks ago, we had a parent/teacher conference with Jake’s kindergarten teacher.  Me and the husband stuffed ourselves into pint sized chairs and tried to act all grown up which is not easy to do with the smell of Elmer’s glue and chalkboard dust wafting in the air.   For me – this was when it hit me that my husband and I are really parents.  Grown up, decision-making parents that are ultimately 100% accountable for the future of three amazingly different children.  Of course we were lovestruck the minute we held each of our newborns in our arms, and with Jake, we certainly felt the weight of parental responsibility as we peered over him for weeks in the NICU hoping and praying for the best.  But even then, as a first time mother, I was immediately confidant that I knew what he needed and gave it to him unconditionally.

Things are a little different now.  It’s not just about loving him unconditionally (which of course I always will).  And it’s no longer about making all his decisions for him (which of course I’ll still try to do because that is a prerequisite to being a Jewish mother).  Now, as I’m learning, it’s really about giving him the guidance and confidence he needs to make these decisions for himself.  He’ll be six in June and his first formal year of school as a kindergartner is coming to a close.  And I can’t stop thinking about a comment his teacher – who I do adore,  said to me at his conference…

“Pick his friends while you still can.”

Jake has made wonderful friendships this year and through those friendships, I too have met new and very special friends in our community.  I hope that these are friendships that will stay with him for years. Because they are really good kids. Kids that I would have chosen for him if I were to pick his friends.  But I didn’t.  He did.  So even though I know I still have influence over him, and while he’s still at an age where he believes – I mean really believes anything I tell him (example: sometimes I hear him wake up at night scampering to the bathroom in a cold sweat because he forgot to brush his teeth and he doesn’t want the bugs to crawl into his mouth because he knows how much they like to eat the sugar right off little boys teeth while they sleep) he doesn’t need me to pick his friends. He’s doing just fine on his own.

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2 Responses to “Pick his friends while you still can.”

  1. Barb Passo says:

    Because I am both a parent and a teacher I know the value of picking good friends and making good choices. Both are equally as important and it’s the friends that ultimately help children make the choices that parents would want their children to make. It’s far easier to have control when a kid is six, and it’s those choices that will help when when the kid is sixteen!

  2. Laura says:

    This is so true! My boys know that they have school friends and social friends that they actually get to have over!!!Ha Ha

    Love your blog-

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