Picture courtesy Google
I came across this innocuous little piece in the Pune Mirror this morning, sourced from The Sun. Some schools in the UK are banning children from having 'best' friends. Instead, the kids are being encouraged to play in groups.
Their logic: Protecting kids from heartbreak resulting from fights with best friends.
Ridiculous or what? And how very manipulative.
Who knows Indian schools might be gearing up to follow suit. In fact I find the practise of shuffling sections each year quite strange. To me it seems a very unsettling idea for the kids. Oh yes I understand the whole thing of letting them mix around but changing sections each year means they have no permanent friends. How healthy is that?
Don't some of our best childhood memories include that one 'Best friend'? -- the one who's watches your back while you pick raw mangoes or ber (or amlas), the one who warns you of the teacher's approach while you're busy mimicking her, the one who home delivers notes when you miss a class and the one who braves your mum when she refuses permission for a night out. Life without a best friend? What life would that be?
As for heartbreak.. well the sooner kids learn about it the better they get at handling it. Besides what about values like commitment, sharing and standing up for someone -- values that a best friend teaches you best? Most importantly, what about love? About learning to love someone with passion, with deep feeling, that comes from years of shared togetherness?
Kids will end up with a scores of acquaintances, who they'll term 'friends' without understanding what a true friend is. Sad.