Thursday, July 10, 2008
Earlier this week I took Andrew to the playground on a very warm morning. There were not many children at the usually busy park and Andrew ended up playing by himself for a little while. After a bit, a boy around Andrew's age showed up. And Andrew got right to work.
First he tried showing the boy that the tunnel was really good for games of peek-a-boo. The boy walked away. Andrew ran after him and showed him a wheel that you could turn around and around really fast while laughing hysterically. The boy considered for a moment but turned away. No matter. Andrew knew just what to do. He would use his best friend making trick. He poked the boy on the shoulder and said, "beep!"
The boy was won over! He and Andrew ran back over to the tunnel to review its usefulness for games of peek-a-boo right before the boy's mom called to him that it was time to go home. It was too hot for the playground.
I love that Andrew was not deterred by the boy being a little stand-offish. He just kept trying. Risking rejection. Brave, brave boy. Though I doubt Andrew has developed the self-awareness to understand rejection and worry about its risks.
I find that the older I get the harder it is for me to make a new friend. If I had been in Andrew's shoes I might have given up on the friendship at the first snubbing of peek-a-boo. And although I realize that friendships among children and friendships among adults look very different and are formed quite differently, I think Andrew might be onto something. Sometimes it takes time and some risk taking for a new friendship to begin.
I'm almost certain though the poke-and-beep wouldn't work for me.