Best Friends – You Can Have More Than One

At the very core of homeschool is the challenging of assumptions.

We challenge such beliefs as:

  • “real” learning only happens in schools
  • children need to learn social skills from their peers
  • parents can’t be teachers

And a few weeks ago, when I posted And When They Cry I found myself struggling with an assumption I had carried with me for over thirty years.

You may recall the post, and you can go back and read it if you like, but basically Emily was told by a child that she was not his best friend because he already had a best friend. This devastated her, and brought back painful memories for me from my own childhood (thanks so much Mary Ann!). For two weeks now it has bothered me until the sudden realization hit, as I was driving home with Emily, that I just blurted it out loud.

“How silly of me! A person can have more than one best friend!”

For Emily it was a simple ‘of course you can’ but for me, it was a revelation, an “oh-duh” moment, which ripped away thirty years of hurt and revealed a different way to look at the situation. Instead of feeling rejected by Mary Ann for not being willing to be my ‘best’ friend, I actually found myself feeling sorry for her. That she had limited herself to just ONE special friend, and not been able to open her mind to the opportunity for MORE.

Semantics aside, because yes, I do understand that best denotes just that, I saw for the first time the possibility for best same grade friend (Mary Ann and I were actually a grade apart, despite being the same age since I had been skipped ahead) and best older friend (the boy at the library’s ‘best’ friend was older than Emily by at least two years)

In the end, it was a good example of challenging assumptions – something that homeschoolers tend to have a lot of practice in. I just wish it hadn’t taken me thirty years to figure out.

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