What is Friendship?
It would be a rare teacher indeed who didn’t want to be friendly with their students. You learn, usually during your first few years, although some teachers never do, that to be an effective teacher you can be your students friend up to and only up to that moment when it starts to get in the way of your job. It took me about 2 years to learn that friendship had to come after teaching and discipline not in front of it.
Friendship is not a means by which you teach it is a result of good teaching, fairness, listening, observing, consistency in discipline and two-way respect in the classroom. If either party fails to respect the rights and strengths of the other friendship as a learning tool is doomed to failure.
Friendship does not mean doing things for each other although that is often a part of friendship. Friendship means accepting what others have to do and how they do it. You may give guidance, material aid, support, and instructions to your friends but you can’t choose their personal course or steer the boat as it either floats down the river of life or struggles constantly up-stream against the current. Often being a friend means preparing to throw the flotation device when the currents of life run too swiftly, hauling them out, drying them off and then hanging up the flotation device within easy reach.
In reality friendship can be described as fair thoughtful compromise where both parties take something away from each encounter without pumping their fists or hanging their heads. Friends may indeed beat each other but they don’t beat each other up as that is not part of what friendship is about, and that makes all the difference.
This rule seems to hold in business and politics as well hence the friction between union/ management and Democrats/ Republicans, who apparently have bought into the idea that every idea has a winner and a loser and nothing in between. It also carries over into international relations where most importantly one country and another as Rodney King might ask “can’t we all get along.” It seems to me that too many have forgotten what it takes to be a friend to each other and now often view all relationships as an adversarial, winner take all, championship sports competition. Ties are no longer allowed even when in reality they would often be quite appropriate. Someone, now, always have to win or lose no matter what the situation an attitude that is profoundly contrary to what I grew up with.
The media buys into this attitude with headlines like the one I saw last week that said Boehner “Caves” to Obama. Does the media believe that the word compromised is now unusable like other “forbidden” words? Could the media help “steer” our politicians towards good fair solutions rather than absolutes by using less inflammatory words that infer someone is better or someone lost? Or is it simply in the media’s best “short term” interests to keep the fires burning. Making this then not a matter of bias but a matter of selfish self-interest. Can you imagine the whole different tone of the ongoing situation had the headline simply said, “Boehner agrees with Obama .” Which word choice would tend to lead to more public acceptance of whatever happened and future compromise.
Conflict makes good headlines and divisive headlines contribute heavily to our current headlong slide backwards towards tribalism, i.e. your not from my tribe so your ideas are bad, hateful and or anti-religion, as well as being either wrong or more commonly, “stupid.”
Incidentally if the dispute over payroll taxes had gone the other way the headline would have been different only in its form as “Obama” caves would serve equally well to fan the flames of partisanship.
If our elected federal employees refuse to act in a forward thinking fair and judicious manner it is time for them to find a job in professional wrestling where their intelligence, verbosity, and people skills may be more easily appreciated.