To have a friend is a beautiful thing. To be a friend is as beautiful, if not more so, as it makes the rest of life, no matter how difficult, pretty beautiful, too.
Years ago when I taught second grade we spent the month of February celebrating friendship. It was an obvious choice for February with Valentine’s Day right in the middle of the month, but also by this time of the year, after a winter’s worth of indoor recesses, we were all ready to learn to appreciate each other once again.
One of my favorite books to read with the class in February was Judith Viorst’s Rosie and Michael, the story of two friends who take turns narrating what makes their friendship so special. What they describe are the characteristics of any beautiful relationship, whether it is between two friends, two loves, a parent and a child, or siblings. Here, illustrated by the words of Rosie and Michael, are the characteristics of any beautiful relationship:
* Friends accept each other as they are. “She likes me when I’m dopey and not just when I’m smart.” “I worry a lot about werewolves, and he understands.”
* They rely on each other in times of trouble. “When my parakeet died, I called Rosie.” “When my bike got swiped, I called Michael.”
* Friends are loyal to one another. “It wouldn’t matter if two billion people said she robbed a bank, if Rosie told me she didn’t, I’d believe her.”
* They are trustworthy, too. “If Michael told me a secret and people clonked me and bopped me, I wouldn’t tell what Michael’s secret was.”
* And if necessary, friends are forgiving. “And then if people said ‘Speak up or we’ll throw you in this quicksand,’ Rosie would forgive me for telling her secret.”
* Even if they disagree, friends can still stay friends. “Just because I call him a banana head, doesn’t mean that Michael’s not my friend.”
* Friends support each other, too. “Sometimes I get on the diving board and deicde that I’ve changed my mind. but Rosie wouldn’t laugh. She’s my friend.”
* Friends are honest with each other. “Michael is my friend. When he honest and truly wanted to know if his feet were smelling stinky, I honestly told him.”
* And they always have your back. “She’d hunt for me if kidnappers stole me away. And if I was never found again, she could have my Instamatic. She is my friend.”
* Special friends are the ones we think of first, last and all the times in between. “I’d never move to China without Michael.” ” I’d give her my last piece of chalk.”
To have a friend, to be a friend is one of the best gifts life has to offer. And now is a wonderful time to celebrate and thank those special friends that make our lives beautiful. Thank you…you know who you are.