Back I went to the Little Free Library this evening with another book – a book about friends and friendships that I bought for our son Theo after a conversation with a colleague a while ago. She is also a parent and had recommended this book because her daughter had found it helpful when she was having trouble with some friends. I found it the very next day in a sale and snapped it up thinking it might help Theo with his friendships.
At the beginning of 4th grade, he was a bit lost at school for a while. Over the summer he had lost a couple of good friends, both girls. One had moved across the country and the other just stopped wanting to be friends without any explanation (even from the parents). Back at school, he struggled finding someone to play with at recess and lunchtime and it broke my heart to see his confidence in himself sinking so low. However, he showed no interest in reading this book. You see, although the book’s title Friends: Making Them and Keeping Them suggests that it might be helpful, there is no hiding from my son the fact that it’s an American Girl doll book and is really for girls. The book has a lot of pink on the cover. My colleague had suggested that this wouldn’t matter and that the advice was gender neutral, but it did. Though Theo had played a lot with girls, he was not interested in reading a book containing advice that seemed specifically geared towards girls.
Mercifully, Theo seems to be doing much better with his friendships at the moment and has a nice assortment of buddies with whom he shares a number of interests – not just video games, but also karate, soccer, parkour and fantasy books – I decided to give this book away. So today I decided to give the book away. I know he will have issues with friends in the future – we all do at various points in our lives – but hopefully we, his parents, will be able to give him good advice about being kind and considerate, respecting himself and others. And, he should learn quite a bit about friendship from all the storybooks he’s been reading lately – books without pink covers that he actually wants to read.