Bird Droppings May 27, 2010
Storms at night
I wish storms had a better scheduling manager at times while it looked at times last night that a storm was imminent it never came. I had gone out to bring the dog in and clouds were swirling around a nearly full moon providing quite a view for me as I wandered about the back yard. Our dog will bark, howl, and holler when storms come through even when I do not here them. Last night was no exception we had a severe storm front pass through earlier knocking out power in a few areas further south after dinner and then about 3:30 AM another front came through and my dog made sure we knew.
Today is the official last day for students and then Friday is graduation day for seniors. It is always hard to turn lose from kids many of these students I have watched grow up some I have never met since I am isolated in my closet on C Hall. Some are dear friends and like previous classes will show up as did a former student or two yesterday. I had not seen her since she quit school nearly four years ago to have a baby but she is doing fine and working on finishing school and moving on in her life. So many daily pieces to fit in place, some are simple and others more profound and complicated. As I read notes and ideas from previous thoughts and review the direction I am going today it always amazes me how within each idea each thought we tend to learn.
“To perceive a friend, therefore, is necessarily in a manner to perceive oneself, and to know a friend is in a manner to know oneself. The excellent person is related to his friend in the same way as he is related to himself, since a friend is another himself.” Susan Stern-Gillet
This last day of school for so many and if I recall often never to see many of them again as they disappear into humanities wastelands, colleges and society. Friendship is bantered about quite a bit as yearbooks are signed and people are hugged and congratulations are made and then off into the abyss of culture and societal duty.
“Let this, then, be laid down as the first law of friendship, that we should ask from friends, and do for friends’, only what is good. But do not let us wait to be asked either: let there be ever an eager readiness, and an absence of hesitation. Let us have the courage to give advice with candor. In friendship, let the influence of friends who give good advice be paramount; and let this influence be used to enforce advice not only in plain-spoken terms, but sometimes, if the case demands it, with sharpness; and when so used, let it be obeyed.” Cicero
I was reading a students yearbook when it hit me how you can tell so much about a person by what random people write in others yearbooks. Dear so and so have a great summer BFA love always, so and so and so. One yearbook I read every note was similar as if no one knew this student. Not a single personal note it struck me as odd. Others go over board with cell numbers and school addresses there are those children whose parents have financed apartments and such away at school for their little darlings for their college experiences.
“In our own time Friendship arises in the same way. For us of course the shared activity and therefore the companionship on which Friendship supervenes will not often be a bodily one like hunting or fighting. It may be a common religion, common studies, a common profession, even a common recreation. All who share it will be our companions, but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends. In this kind of love, as Emerson said, do you love me? Means do you see the same truth? – Or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The man, who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.” C. S. Lewis
The great theologian, scholar and author’s idea of friendship is very akin to what many teenagers consider friends. It might just be current acquaintances who have similar interests and understandings and literally many do become friends. Computers have made friendship the press of a button as MySpace or facebook friend requests are simply a click away. One of my favorite recent emails was click this link for a thousand friends. So simple to have friends click a link and poof magically friends appear. I think Lewis wanted a bit more meat, maybe a bit more serious understanding and knowledge out there of who you speak.
“The middle class pattern of friendship formation is quite clear and essentially the dominant one in terms of what friendship is taken to mean. Essentially when people are met who are liked, the common pattern is for the relationship to be developed by extending its boundaries through involving the other person in other social contexts… The use of the home for entertaining is particularly significant….” Grahm Allen
As I read and researched friendship I found a developmental scale just my thing, sort of interesting as I think there is something to say for devlopmentalists. Piaget had some issues with his use of his own kids but his ideas and thoughts have given rise to some better ideas.
“As the past few weeks have shown, we are not the selfish, atomized individuals of modern media myth. But the government would like us to think we are.” Ray Pahl
Ray Pahl was a visiting professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, The University of Essex. He has numerous articles and books to his credit. Pahl has come up with in his book “Friendship”, this simple developmental scale.
Aged 3-4 Children start to use the term ‘friend’ to describe playmates
Aged 4-7 Children start to appreciate that own views and identity is different from others
Aged 6-12 Children start to be able to ‘put themselves in other peoples’ shoes’.
Aged 9-15 Children/young people are able to take on the perspective of a ‘third person’; to look at interactions and, thus, to work on relationships.
Aged 12+ There is recognition that individual friendship is part of a larger network of relationships – and that friends are linked with others in ‘personal communities’.
As I think to my own childhood friends it is so easy to use anyone with whom we play then is a friend. We then learn to adjust and limit friendship and friends and we are taught to not talk to strangers and to avoid friendship often many times. Relationships are too complicated I heard that this yesterday morning at school. Funny how a few words or a few comments and even a few read statements can change friend from someone you play with to a stranger and or back, all in a few years according to this scale.
I have three statues that my wife has given me over the years. Each of these is of a little child. One is standing holding his coat tight from the cold, another a little girl holding a kitten looking up and the other one is holding a Tonka truck just looking ahead. Children have such a simple life and we adults gunk it up. Maybe we should ban anyone over eight years old from existence. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.