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THE OPEN HAVERSACK: True friendship

Rhonda Blackman

THE OPEN HAVERSACK: True friendship

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In the last week I was faced with numerous unusual occurrences that caused me to reflect on the words “friend” and “friendships”. I was bombarded with calls from a variety of individuals asking if I knew various people, if they were my “friends” and if I could “pull a string” here or there to assist them.
I was taken aback, for, sorry to say, I am not that individual who “pulls strings” so I was unable to assist. I must say those individuals did not take my position quite well. Contrary to this, I met a small group of people from Pennsylvania who epitomized true friendship – their togetherness, love and sincerity was something many could emulate.
I sat and pondered if we as a people really know what it means to be a friend or about true friendship. Many people have misconceived ideas as to what being a friend is. Some might believe that a friend is someone who “pulls strings” for you or gives you things. Others might say a friend is someone who is there for you during your down moments, someone who provides a listening ear and offers sound advice.
True friends are hard to find. A price cannot be affixed to the value of true friendship; in fact, it is priceless. True friends are sincere, trustworthy, honest and caring. In addition, they accept you for who you are and want the best things life can offer for each other. Finding a true friend is like looking for a needle in a haystack. They are rare and hard to find or hard to maintain or believe in.
Friendship is a foundational building block in the development of character. Therefore it is important that children choose the right kind of friends. Parents need to teach their children from an early age the value of friendship and choosing their friends wisely. Children need to be educated not only on what a friend is, but also on what it means to be a friend.
It is of utmost importance that children keep the company of friends who affirm the values promoted in your family – those who have the strength of character to stand out from the crowd when the crowd is wrong; friends who are not just takers, but people who are generous and have the same interests. Parents, get to know the friends of your children.
The value of friendship is something that few people take time to really appreciate. Only when you need a friend do you realize just what kind of value friendship holds.
Hats off to some special friends – people who know what it means to be a true friend – Heather, Recarlo, Joseph, Elsie, Peggy, Beverley, Marcia, Yvonne and Errol. Friendship is a gift; treasure it.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.