Friction, fabulous friction.
After a two week break from each other, our lovely GS children were back together last week.
That song "There's a fraction too much friction" sprung to mind, as we all settled back into friendships and familiar rhythms. I also thought "Yay!". No, the cheese and cracker haven't completely parted ways friend, hear me out.
Having reflected on the negative connotations around disagreements we as adults have, I realised we unwittingly place these on the children in our care. If children aren't ever allowed to practice being part of conflict because we interfere with our preconceptions that everyone should 'be kind and get along', they will never be able to work their way through these gritty moments in life.
For example, two little blokes were clashing a lot throughout their day, and in their play which was becoming increasingly physical. I called them over for a chat "Oh no" one muttered to the other "We are in trouble aren't we?". This struck me as so sad! We had a conversation about what was going wrong, and how we can change things to keep everyone safe. As they walked away, happily and hopefully empowered rather than scolded, it occured to me that these two little dudes were only children, and all in likelihood never get to practice working through friction (Cheers to you my Big Bro Mark, plenty of friction and fun in our childhood) and teachers were always blasting them for these disagreements (there isn't a lot of time or space for friction inside busy, crowded classrooms) instead of teaching them how to deal with conflict in a healthy way.
In another 'moment of friction' I assisted three young ladies to work through their challenges by setting boundaries in their play. These boundaries were worked out by them, and were things they didn't need to compromise on to have fun together. They decided sharing equipment, kind works and (yikes) no spitting were their firm edges, and then happily went back to their imaginative game.
There are moments in everyone's day when we have to deal with 'friction', people we disagree with or those we simply don't gel with. Part of being a healthy adult is to know how to navigate through these, sometimes complex, moments without them eating away at our hearts and minds. Mowing the lawns in front of our kids, taking away every lump and bump in the road, giving them a smooth ride to the finish line, is not going to help them be resilient members of society. It fact, we do them a disservice when we lead them to believe that life is super easy - and let's face it, it can be a tough road to walk at times.
So, here's to friction and all those bumps in the road! Let's be cheerleaders for our children, and support them in all their aspirations without making it too easy for them.
Walk alongside them over those bumps, but don't smooth the way.