Friday, March 26, 2010

Teaching Friendship Skills

My friend Julie volunteers as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. She just shared a great idea for teaching children about friendship skills.

She gave the girls construction paper and markers and asked them to decorate a heart. She let the girls spend a bit of time decorating, so they grew attached to their artwork. Then she told everyone to crumple their work into a ball. The girls were very sad, but with a little encouragement they followed Julie's direction. Then Julie told the girls to uncrumple their hearts, and smooth out the pictures. She asked the girls:

What did you think about your hearts before you crumpled them?
How easy was it to crumple them?
How easy was it to uncrumple them?
How did the pictures change from the crumpling?

This activity parallels our hearts and our friendships. It's so easy to 'crumple' a friendship by saying unkind words or taking thoughtless actions. It only takes a few minutes, and sometimes it doesn't feel like a big deal to hurt someone in a small way.

But 'uncrumpling' or restoring a friendship is never easy. You can say "I'm sorry" and try to make ammends, but the unkindness makes a lasting mark on our hearts and our friendships. Rebuilding trust is very difficult to do.

What can you do to protect your friendships? How can you guard your words and your actions to avoid hurting the people around you? Make a pledge to do those things today - remember the power of your actions to bless or hurt those around you.