How The Heck Do You Make Friends?

I hold her against my chest and stroke her hair while she cries. She says she has no friends.  She says every time she asks one of her classmates to “be her friend”, they say no so she runs away.

My heart breaks into a thousand pieces inside my chest and I can’t think of the right thing to say.

So instead I try to buy time by asking her questions like, “Who says no? Which kids?  What are their names?”  Like somehow this makes a difference.  Like somehow that’s going to help me zero in on some way to turn that no into a yes.

She takes a few minutes because she doesn’t want to tell me or maybe she’s just trying to formulate her thoughts into words, which is hard for her even with the four sessions of speech therapy a week.

Finally she mentions the name of a girl I know. I’ve noticed her while chaperoning field trips, or helping with classroom parties. She’s the popular one. The leader. The one all the other girls clamor around.    The one who, Annie says, tells her to “stop” whenever she tries to join in.  The social gatekeeper.

And I feel the anger simmering in my belly. I wish I could just grab this girl by the arm and make her be friends with Annie. But that’s not the way to make friends, so I say nothing.

Does this nonsense really start as early as first grade? Are these the same sweet little munchkins that circled around her last year, full of welcoming hugs and kisses, when two months into the school year, she was placed back into a kindergarten class for the second time around because she wasn’t keeping up with the first grade curriculum?  How did they grow fangs already?

So I squeeze her a little tighter, and say, “Forget those girls. There must be other girls in the class you could try to make friends with.”  Other girls looking in from the outside, like her.  Yes, that’s it. Outsiders unite!

“But I want to be friends with ________!”  and she breaks into breathless sobs again because another wave of humiliation and rejection crashes over her.

I’m at a total loss. As a mother, I don’t know what to do to make this better. I have not the slightest clue how to ease these emotions she’s processing. As a person in general, who’s lived and functioned in this society for nearly 41 years,  I’m baffled by my social skill set deficit.  How the heck do you make friends with the popular girl?

I’m desperate so I say, “Maybe if you bring her a present, she will be nicer to you.” As soon as it’s out of my mouth, I sense  there’s something really off about this approach.  It doesn’t sit right with me. It feels like bribery and it’s pathetic but it’s all I’ve got so I roll with it. “I just bought some really pretty lollipops for our treasure box.  You can bring her one of those tomorrow.”

She lifts her head and her eyes brighten a bit.

Uh-oh.  I can see I’ve given her some hope.

Oh God, please let this work. And God, if it doesn’t, please give me the words to get her through it.

 

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Is there room for Jesus? Prove it.

What is your priority today?  What’s on your to-do list?  If you didn’t have all that pressing in on you, how would your list change?  What if you could order your list of priorities based on what you wanted to do most of all? What would it say about where your heart is?

In the Book of Jeremiah, God is grieved by the people of Israel because they have chosen to follow their stubborn hearts, worshiping what their hands have made. In that, they had forgotten the Lord.  I wonder what I am worshiping that my hands have made.  My career?  My finances?  My blog?  I love Jesus with all my heart but do my actions and the way I spend my time testify to that?

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My prayer today is that we commit to not letting God become an afterthought. He’s to be our forethought. That’s where He belongs, right there up front.  First place.  First thought.  First thing.   Everything else will always be there but any sense of accomplishment gained will fade with the rising of a new sun, when a whole new set of chores present themselves.

Spend a little time building something that is lasting. Make time for the Lord early in the morning, before the world inevitably shows up to turn your head or seduce your heart.  Do it with prayer and bible study, even if it’s only 10 minutes.  It doesn’t take much more than a sincere heart showing sincere effort to move Him. It has to be just as intentional and non- negotiable as your to-do list. Let Jesus be the foundation of your day.  He is the only one that can fuel your soul with the good stuff. Watch how much smoother your ride becomes.

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