Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inviting Drama

Barley had a rough day at school yesterday.  He had one invitation to pass to a school friend, and we had no last name, address, or phone number for this friend.  The only way to deliver the invitation was by hand at school, so we impressed upon Barley how important it was that he make sure to deliver it in a non-public setting.  The boys have done this before, with varied success in the past.  When I was in grade school, I witnessed invitations passing in front of me on the schoolyard far more often than I received one personally.  We wanted to avoid hurting anyone's feelings and we impressed this point on the boys.

Anyway, the party being this weekend, and this being a short week, Barley was worried about missing this friend at school and not being able to let him know about the party.  "A" was not at morning line-up (he arrived late), and Barley forgot the invitation in his backpack at recess and lunch. The end of Monday school day arrived, and after the bell rang, Barley's best friend of the moment, "B", followed him to where DH was picking him up. B stayed and chatted, and stayed and chatted.  Barley could see his friend A walking by, with another mutual friend C.

Barley told his friend B, "I am sorry, but I need to talk to my friend "A" for a minute alone--can you go away for a couple of minutes?"  I know, that sounds harsh, even from a 7-year old, but I'm not saying Barley would win any awards for tact.  Then again, that's politer than some adults I know.  Of course, kids being kids, Barley's friend B was now extremely curious, refused to leave, and recruited C to heckle Barley and A to find out what was going on.  Worried about missing the chance to invite his friend, Barley finally gave up when he saw his Dad there to pick him up.  He pulled out the envelope, handed it to A and reminded him not to open it until he got home.

Of course B and C started chanting, "What is it?  What is it?  What is it?" and A was actually inclined to tell them since he could brag about being invited to the party.  Barley told him again not to, "My parents said it would hurt people's feelings, you can't say anything!"

As Barley left the group and headed to the car, he could hear A spilling the beans.  He did not turn to see how anyone reacted to the news, but he was very, very upset about the situation.

We discussed it at home, as a family.  DH and I pointed out to Barley that he now knew something about his friend A that he did not know before.  Barley nodded, getting the point.  Barley rehashed what had happened, and identified points where he could have made different decisions, like remembering the invitation at recess, or not walking with his friend B after school ended.  We also pointed out that he could have waited until today for another chance to deliver the invite, or asked his Dad for help.  He seemed open to all the feedback, and we made it clear to him that we thought he had done a good job trying to make things right in an awkward situation.

Then we decided to expand Barley's 6-person home party to 7, and printed up a new invitation for B.  We weren't sure if B would hold a grudge, and I prepped Barley to explain to B that the party would be Pokemon-themed, and B has said in the past that he thought Pokemon were stupid (hence why he was not on the original list).  Fortunately, kids are pretty straightforward.  When they saw each other in the morning, they goofed around together for a few minutes, and then Barley apologized to B, and gave him the invitation.  B seemed satisfied with that, and they were back to pushing each other and joking around on line.  Friendships are simpler in grade school, I think.

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