Last week my mother-in-law picked Jack up from school. She told me that she ran into a mom of one of Jack’s classmates who said her son wasn’t having an easy time transitioning to a new school. My MIL mentioned this to me when she dropped Jack off and suggested that Jack make friends with the little boy. But Jack wasn’t having it. He’s not big on making new friends and tends to like to surround himself with a few close friend, which I get, making new friends isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
I hate the idea of anyone being lonely, especially a kid. So I talked to Jackson about befriending the little boy. About how he would want someone to be his friend if he was in a new school and didn’t know anyone. Jack mentioned that last year a boy in his class, asked him to play on the first day and that made things easier for him. But he was still hesitant to make a new friend. It’s hard to step outside your comfort zone, especially when you are shy and when you already have a group of friends who you are used to. I get that for an anxious kid talking to someone you don’t know, even another child can be nerve wrecking.
So I tried a different approach. I asked Jack if he could do one small thing for this little boy. That he didn’t have to be his best friend, he didn’t have to spend all day with him, all he had to do was say hi. We talked about small ways he could be a friend and Jack suggested sitting next to him at circle time or sharing a toy at playtime.
Before he headed to school the next day I reminded him that he was going to do one small thing for me and he agreed.
When he came home from school he happily told me that he had become friends with the little boy. That they had played together all day. I asked him what the “small thing” he had decided to do was, and he told me he sat next to him at circle time.
I was so proud of my little guy. Because I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there, to talk to new people, to make new friends, even as an adult. And I got to thinking what if we all just did one small thing to make the world a friendlier, kinder, place? What if everyday we took a moment and did one small thing to make someones life a little better. Whether it’s texting a new mom that is having a hard time or holding the door for someone with a bag of groceries or saying hi to someone at the park by themselves.
It is way too easy to just go about our days without saying hi or smiling or taking just a bit of extra effort to connect with each other. It’s easy to sit at the park on our phone, to avoid eye contact, to think “well I don’t want to bother them”. But if my 5-year-old can do it, then maybe we all can do just one small thing.