Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Friendships Require Diligence

As we get older and our lives veer in different directions it becomes harder to maintain friendships. People often find that they have less in common with certain people than they once did. Oftentimes that realization comes around the time you have kids. There are all these articles out there where people are best friends until they have kids and then they have kids and realize they are just too different and their parenting styles clash too much to remain close. Or one friend has children and the other does not and therefor it is also too difficult to remain friends. I just don’t really understand that entirely. I have many friends that I’ve had before any of us had children. Many of them started having children first and we remained friends. Certain dynamics of our relationship changed, but our friendship and fondness for each other did not. As years followed I had children and again, the dynamic changed but the friendship remained the same. We even moved away from the majority of these friends and I still talk with them on a weekly basis and we are closer than ever, even though we go years without seeing each other. I have friends in town that I’ve known for years, some for months; some with kids and some without. I may not always agree with their ideas or we may do things differently when it comes to raising and caring for our kids and I’m sure they too disagree with certain things I do or have differing views about how they raise their children, but our friendship remains. There is nothing significant enough to disagree upon that could result in the termination of our friendship.
Ultimately, by nature we are different. People do things differently. We have different beliefs, different convictions, and different ways to raise our families. Different doesn’t mean bad or wrong, which is how so many often associate the two. Now, if they were to start sacrificing young children to their gods, that would probably end the friendship. People too easily give up on things when conflict arises. We’re a society that very willingly throws in the towel when the going gets tough. Very few people stick it out and work to maintain these friendships and relationships. There is a great sensitivity people have these days that seem to result from minor disagreements or criticisms. We have become a hypersensitive society that prefers to cut and run instead of dealing with the issues. We see this problem in politics, diplomatic relationships, religious hierarchy, business relationships, and as a result in our personal interactions. I wish we could all just grow up a little.
People treat friendships and other relationships like they are disposable. There’s a disagreement or a difference of views and instead of just accepting those people for who they are we throw down the gauntlet and decide we can’t be friends. Why? In a world where the "me against them" mentality has been cultivated and groomed, where we are essentially born onto "sides" it seems we’d want to rail against this elitism. However, so often we feed into it. All of us. People need to get over petty disagreements and differences in beliefs and look at the core of who or what a person is and decide if that person is worth it. Not if his/her beliefs are worth it; not if his/her faults are worth it, but if that PERSON is worth it. Only then can friendships and relationships remain. We owe it to ourselves to be better than what society has accepted from us in the past. We owe it to our friends, families, and spouses to overlook transgressions and flaws and truly look at the core of who they are. Only then will our relationships and friendships flourish.

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