more talk about friendship, and taking a fall

March 4, 2013

family life

The discussion continued this week on friendship.

My eldest boy is starting to reflect on what “good friends” say and do.

He noticed that he had what looked like a bite, fang marks, on his hand. It did look like a bite but there was no redness, swelling, or pain. He mentioned it to the boy he was having trouble with last week. My son reported that the boy responded  in an aggressive manner “that’s not a bite, you don’t know what you’re talking about, I got bitten by a spider once and it didn’t look like that”.

Me: Is that the sort of comment you would expect from a good friend?

Boy: No

Me: What might a good friend say?.

I named a boy who has demonstrated kindness and caring towards other children in the past, and asked “how would he respond if you told him the same thing?”.

Boy: He would say something like, “I hope it wasn’t poisonous”.

Me: How would you feel if someone said that to you?

Boy: I would feel like he cared about what I said and what happened to me.

Me: Good friend?

Boy: Good friend!

At this stage, my middle boy piped up and talked about what one of his good friends might say to him in the same situation.

Gratitude: Thank you for the teachable moments, for the opportunity to talk about feelings and situations. For opposites because life is full of light and dark. For the spaces between interactions, and the capacity to reflect on those spaces and what makes a difference in the life of others.

My boys have always been rough and tumble kids. For years, they have been practising jumping off our back deck, 3 metres at its highest point, and doing commando rolls when they land. Well, all of that practice and creation of muscle memory came in handy when my eldest boy tripped on something and tumbled over a wall at school. Witnesses said he did a flip before impact to save hitting his head on the concrete. He doesn’t recall what happened. He was in shock and winded. He was checked for spinal and head injury. He was sore for a few days.


A teacher who has been at the school for thirty years says that no-one has ever fallen off that wall. Just because they haven’t, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t. Now the school is going to put a fence along the wall to prevent any further accidents. If it had to happen to someone to make the school act, our son said that he is glad that it was he that fell over the wall rather than a toddler or someone less fit and able. It could have been a lot more gruesome.

To make sure he hadn’t lost his nerve he spent the next day climbing trees and jumping from great heights.

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About hakea

groupworker, parent educator, therapist, mother of three boys.

View all posts by hakea


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4 Comments on “more talk about friendship, and taking a fall”

  1. phrogmom Says:

    wow! so glad he is ok! and that all of his training was useful!


  2. Hazel M. Wheeler Says:

    What a proud mother I hope you are! What a load of graciousness and ‘get yourself up, dust yourself off’ your son has… such a great attitude.

    I am thankful that he’s well. Scary, I am sure…. and now he’s enacted a positive change, even if by accident.

    Thanks for sharing the conversations regarding friendships. That’s something I may be writing on soon myself. There have been quite a teachable moments… it’s nice to see how other parents do it too.


    • hakea Says:

      Hi Phroggie and Hazel

      The teachers were quite panicked but we were very calm, which I think helped him. He did get a bit of a scare though because he is so athletic and has never hurt himself with all of his acrobatics and parkour. So, he was determined to get back into it as soon as possible, because he didn’t want to be fearful of his favourite activity.

      The friendship thing is ongoing. This particular conversation evolved over several weeks, and there was a lesson learnt by the end. Some kids need lots of support in this area.


  3. InsideJourneys Says:

    That’s a great story. Your son is quite brave. I’m not sure I’d want to climb trees the next day but that’s the best way not to lose your nerve.
    I too, took a tumble a few months ago but wasn’t so lucky. Fractured my ankle in three places, had to have surgery to secure my ankle. Am walking unaided now and it’ll take a few more months for it to heal. The homeowner has put up handrails – I was walking down steps – but I’m not sure I’m happy to be the one who forced them to do it.


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