Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Farming Friendships

Last week we took advantage of fall break for the kids and a glorious day and headed to Johnson Farms. We went with our dear friends Justin and Gretchen and their four kiddos. We all met last year when Isabelle and Jillian were in kindergarten and Jackson and Caroline were in pre-K together. It's been an easy friendship and one where the guys get along just as well and the girls (a rarity after marriage it seems).

The afternoon was spent picking pumpkins, riding hayrides, watching the farm animals, and laughing with the kids as they explored together. The kids were in awe of the pumpkin shooter that that shot pumpkins a mile in the air and chased chickens and ducks around a pen. We also discovered Justin's mad photog skills with his phone that can take 1,234 pictures in ten seconds (helpful when attempting to get six kids to pose for a shot).

Gretchen and I are amazed at our daughter's friendship.  Isabelle and Jillian are best friends (aka BFFs) and have alarmingly similar personalities. They are both outgoing, strong leaders, stubborn, and dramatic. On that account almost as often as they are best friends they are worst enemies. You can imagine what this looks like on the playground when one of them creates a "club" and recruits members. Suddenly the president of the Irish Step-dancing Club and the president of the Mommy Club are in a screaming match about who serves better tea. But within five minutes of a fight, they are best friends again, forgetting they were members of opposing clubs and staunchly defending each other when the boys (aka bad guys) come to play tag.

They're also competitive  Not only on the playground but in the classroom. I just heard from their teacher that they race each other to get a right answer and if called on first, will look in the other's general direction, with victorious eyebrows raised. But they also cheer each other on; spurring each other to do even better in their schoolwork.

Luckily, the adults in their life are on to them.  I'm so thankful that Gretchen and I (and their teachers) are on the same page in desiring to shepherd our girl's hearts in a way that teaches them about true friendship, servant leadership, and putting others first. We've had multiple opportunities to use their friendship to teach them about God's upside down kingdom.

I can learn a lot from Isabelle and Jillian's friendship.
Celebrate your friends victories
Shield them from the bad guys
See their success as a challenge to be better yourself
Laugh at each other's silliness
Say "I'm sorry" and move on
Be passionate about your friendships
We could probably all benefit from these 1st grade girls. I often struggle to connect deeply with other women due to past broken friendships, fear of failure, and lack of time and energy. It was so much easier to connect with others when I saw them everyday in English class or in the dorm. Now with the busyness of a career and kids and housekeeping and general grownup stuff, friendships more easily fall by the wayside.

But we were created for community. We were created to live life with and for others. Even though it can be hard and messy and competitive and hurtful, having someone to defend you from the bad guys on the playground is worth it.

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