Monday, November 15, 2010

Friendship Thoughts Then and Now

I recently attended my high school reunion - class of 1960. Renewing friendships was deeply satisfying. Coincidentally, soon after returning I began teaching a weekly Total Health Class in Gurnee, IL to eleven awesome, home-schooled high school students. (One, my grandson DJ, is how I got involved with these great young people.) Our text book covers four areas of health: physical, mental, social and spiritual. I reflected on how pleased I was that social health was included because I never gave it a thought in my high school days.

To emphasize social health for my enthusiastic, diligent students and in honor of my reunion I drew a cloak on the dry erase board making designs on it using the letters in their names. “Look around class,” I said. “Some of your fellow students may be lifelong friends, others will be a tiny part of your cloak design but all the people you interact with become part of the fabric you wear throughout life. Sometimes you pick the people who impact you; others enter through circumstances. A cloak with holes is no good and one without design isn’t nearly as lovely. Bottom line is relationships matter so take care of the ones you want to keep strong. Some need minimal care; others more careful attention and they’re well worth it. Treasure friendship! When I’ve gone through tough times, how I’ve appreciated having friends come alongside me and help me. And what a privilege to be on the giving end helping others.”

Next we studied the eleven systems of the body. I loved having my students consider these intricate structures we carry around every day some of which perform without our direct supervision. (When did you last tell your heart to pump?) In their notebooks my students are recording some fascinating numbers: 206 bones in the human body. 600 muscles in the body. Millions of nerve cells. Man, wo-man, amazing dynamos! We’re created on purpose for unique purposes and relationships are part of how our life purpose is accomplished.

A Woman’s Guide: 52 Ways to Choose Happiness and Fulfillment has a helpful chapter on developing friendships and understanding the levels of friendship. You can download it free from my website Have a grace-packed day, my friend.