Busybodies intrude on childhood friendship

Sometimes I wonder if “enlightened experts” ever had childhoods,

. . . increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.”

Unreal. Read the article. The schools and “experts” are intrusive and unnatural. And sad.

This isn’t about what’s good for the children; it is about being better able to control adults by stripping from them any training in intimacy and interpersonal trust. Don’t let two people get together and separate themselves from the pack, or they might do something subversive, like…think differently.

This move against “best friends” is ultimately about preventing individuals from nurturing and expanding their individuality. It is about training our future adults to be unable to exist outside of the pack, the collective. The schools want you to think this is about potential bullying and the sadness of some children feeling “excluded.” But that is not what this is about.

As a kid I was the target of “the pack;” I know more than I care to about schoolyard bullies, and I can tell you that the best antidote to them was having a good friend. One good friend who shares your interests and ideas and sense of humor can erase the negative effects of the conform-or-die “pack” with which one cannot identify, “the pack” that cannot comprehend why one would not wish to join them and will not tolerate resistance.

Meatballs is a very silly movie with a very important, kind (and apparently subversive) core message: if you can make one good friend, you’re doing very well. That group identities have certain undeniable values, but our intimate relationships are what keep us grounded, and help us to discover and more completely be who we are.

I am so glad my kids are not in the public schools, anymore, but if they were still little, this latest bit of nonsense would be yet another reason to consider homeschooling.

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About Elizabeth Scalia