Explaining how friendships change to kids
Making Friends: Part Four
A Reason, A Season, and a Tanzanite Gemstone
It is said that 'a friend is someone who knows the song of your heart and can sing it back to you when you forget’.
But friends come in many types, and when friends move, or you grow apart there is a grief process involved. My oldest son first experienced this in second grade, not even a month into the school year.
My oldest son is thick as thieves, loyal as a Lab kind of friend. So, he feels it big when friends have moved away or just grown apart.
In my motherly love, I tried to console him once by saying, “Friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” I know you’ve heard it before or even said it to someone.
It’s an adage that sometimes helps us manage the loss of a friendship or compartmentalize the people who have affected our lives. But when I said this to my oldest son, I got the ‘what you talkin' about Willis' look, yep aging myself here no doubt. But stick with me.
He was so confused, but then he said what does that mean, and I was kind of frozen. Explaining reason and season to a seven-year-old was pretty awkward.
Truthfully, I did my best to communicate this concept, but I feel like I fumbled big time. Because these concepts were taught to me when I was older, I didn’t have the words to communicate them to my son’s young 8-year-old ears.
So, I’m going to give it a try here.
I have a very visual person, so analogies and comparisons are very helpful in communicating truth. The same is true for my kiddos.
In 2021, our family went down to San Antonio for a family vacation (REMEMBER THE ALAMO) One of the things we did there was visiting the Natural Bridge Caverns.
One of our kiddos has a fascination with rocks and geodes, so he was ecstatic. We decided to do one of the rock mining bags and our kids loved searching for ‘treasure’.
As they were sifting through the little fossils and rocks there were some rocks and fossils that were more common than others.
When I was thinking of how to better communicate friendships this mining process came to mind.
Because geodes and fossils are formed through a process and combination of events and chemicals. The same is true for friends, except maybe the chemical part.
So here we go.
Friends for a Season-
These types of friends come and go based on interests and activities. They are the Amethyst Friends.
Amethyst is beautifully formed from a special combination of elements but is easy enough to find.
Friends for a Reason-
These are the friends that stick in your memories. The ones that taught you something, that walked you through the hard. The one that helped make the day better and moved you toward the person you will become. They are unique, special, and precious. I call these friendships the Diamond friendship. They are friendships that are a little rarer and hold a special place in your heart.
Friends for a Lifetime-
These types of friends get a lot of attention in movies and books because they are the types of friendships, we all long for. Someone who is with us through thick or thin. A friend who has known us at our best and our worst, and still love us.
But these types of friendships are extremely rare.
I call them the Tanzanite Friends.
What is Tanzanite?
Well, it is said to be about 1,000 times rarer than diamonds, tanzanite is a deep-blue gemstone named after Tanzania, where it was discovered for the first time in 1967. Interestingly, tanzanite is only found in Mount Kilimanjaro’s foothills and is currently valued at about $1,500 per carat.
That is pretty rare, and so are lifetime friends.
I grew up with a narrow focus on friendship, always looking for lifetime friends, and I hope to communicate to my kids more about what makes a good friend (Making Friends: Part Two). Rather than having a limited focus on an ideal that has hurt me.
So, the next time your kiddo has lost a friend or is struggling with friendship I hope this analogy will help you communicate that life is full of different kinds of friendship, just like the world is full of different kinds of rocks.