Ruby has several little girl friends in the neighborhood. They all have strong points. One has great snacks. Another seems to be getting new pets all the time like kittens, puppies, or guinea pigs. Great draw for an animal lover like Ruby. Another one has a trampoline. The last lets Ruby tag along on family outings.
Yet Ruby doesn’t seem to be able to stay good friends with any of them for long, save the trampoline kid. She’s a teeny bit more amenable, since Ruby is older than her.
“Why don’t you play with Jenny (not her real name)? She should be home today,” I’ll prompt, attempting to pry Ruby’s eyeballs from the TV screen.
“Nah. She’s too bossy,” Ruby will respond.
Hello pot, meet kettle.
All of these girls have strong personalities. None just “go with the flow” for very long, if ever. They all want to be the leader. They all like calling the shots and making decisions. Hence, the ensuing arguments.
You know what? That’s not a bad thing. Each girl knows her own mind. They don’t get swayed easily. They know who they are. It’s a gift, but the flip side, as I’ve written about before. The smooth side of the gift shows the confidence and joy they have, making forays into the world and discovering what it’s all about. The rough side reveals the intractability and need to control circumstances. The two make up the whole of a personality trait: self-assurance. Confidence. Boldness.
Confidence and courage make great leaders. In our culture, we value girls who are subdued and submissive. Confident boys tend to get a lot of kudos. Our girls should receive the same for these qualities. These girls are world-changers. Sure, they need some tempering and self-control. Part of my job entails seeing they learn it. You don’t wield your WMD (weapons of mass destruction) – cruel words, withholding snacks, or disappearing without notice – on your friends. They deserve your sympathetic listening ear. They need your half a cookie. And silly jokes make everything better.
I think it’s entirely possible Ruby and her gang are still figuring out what real friendship is. Over time, people change, especially children. Your enemy of today might morph into your best friend tomorrow. It can take a lifetime to understand how to love people. These girls, they’ve only just begun.