It feels like a lifetime ago that I watched that film on video. I remember dark, curly haired Minnie Driver and the boyish good looks of Chris O’Donnell and after that I don’t remember so much. It nearly makes me want to sit down and watch it again to find out what it was all about. Perhaps I will.As a child, your first circle of friends outside of your immediate family are the friends of your parents, your relatives, and the neighbours that surround you. There was an Auntie Joan who wasn’t really your auntie, but you felt that she was so lovely that she should be and so you called her that. There were cousins who were as close as siblings are, borrowing each other’s clothes and having those play fight ways that changed as often as the wind but yet you were each others biggest fan. And there was that next door neighbour who was always there to look after you, providing you with comfort and support when you needed it most.At small school you had Lynsey and Linsey (different spelling of course as the way so many are) who sat within the turnstile of the school playground entrance you made sisterhood pacts with that you would be friends forever, “cross my heart and hope to die” who even came up with such words?! At big school after learning that you no longer stayed put in your one little classroom the entire day with your one familiar teacher, but that you moved about from one room to the next meeting your next new teacher, you quickly learned that school was a rather big place. In that rather big place there were lots of activities and interests to pursue. With my interest in all things active I became one of the sporty ones and with that became a hockey girl. The ‘hockey girl fraternity’ was a force to be reckoned with and probably still is in every school and there another circle was formed.There are many different facets of life which impact on every individual and the opportunity for their circle of friends to expand; not only from school but also church and the many different organisations, associations and clubs they have the opportunity of being involved with. There is so much gratitude that I owe to my parents for the upbringing and experiences that myself and my siblings were given. Being a very active family, with many interests and hobbies woven into our daily life, it was understood from an early age how to socialise and make friends with others. The people I have been fortunate to have surrounding my life and those that I would call my ‘circle of friends’ are those who have shared the same interests, passion and outlook on life as me.For our young people school life takes up a large percentage of their time every day. For many of us reflecting today we may say they were the best days of our life and how we didn’t want them to end but unfortunately this is not always the case for everyone. School life can evoke many feelings in our young people; it can be enjoyable and exciting but it can also be intimidating, frightening and downright terrifying unfortunately for some. We protect our children like a bear protects its cubs, but when the time comes for them to step outside the den we cannot be with them all of the time. We are hoping that we have taught them enough on how to be caring and considerate, be friendly and kind, and to not only talk but also listen. We have tried to prepare them for times when others can be unkind and hurtful and bossy and rude and teach them how to stand up for themselves and have a hard outer skin despite the warm heart inside. Preparing them for the fall but yet not wanting attention and time given to have them think that others could behave in such a way. Much effort is made to conform to the norm in school, the necessity to feel and look similar to everyone else, and be doing the same as others, having what they have, and acting as they do. The interaction between individuals in peer groups is so influential and the circle of friends that young people find themselves surrounded by, or perhaps choose themselves to be around, is so very important.We all want what is best for our little ones; trying to impart what was one day taught to us from our own parents, wanting them to be friendly and polite to everyone, welcoming and encouraging, wearing a smile and being happy, learning the difference between a good and bad deed and knowing when something is right or wrong. We want them to grow in confidence, become strong and powerful with knowledge and understanding, yet be humble, show compassion and always be kind. To walk in the right path, listening to the right people and learning the right way. The wise words of “choose your company wisely”, I can hear so vividly from my father, as if he were stood here beside me today. When growing up and perhaps more so when I was at that age when girls and boys start to take notice of one another I did not understand the full significance of his teaching. Yes, I listened and obeyed most of the time, however raising little ones and looking to the future, I can now see how vitally important this is.
“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.”
This is a quote that I came across on instagram account, The Law of Attraction @lovetheloa, a source of positive and motivational quotes which I believe best sums up this teaching of choosing your friends wisely. In order for our children and ourselves to be the best that we can and to set ourselves high standards and expectations to live by then surrounding ourselves with like minded people and friends is so important. Our circle of friends has much influence on us as a person and the growth and maturity that takes place and in directing our path in life. Surrounding ourselves with good, caring, honest people and we too will hopefully be that. Grasp the opportunities we are given for pursuing activities, hobbies, and interests because those experiences may just shape our entire life path and create a circle of friends that will support and love us for who we are, what we believe and where we want to go in life.