Friends and Enemies: The Malleable Keys to Peace

Avengers

Avengers Legos

Photo credit: Dunechaser / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

My five year old son has tons of friends. Part of the reason why he is so blessed is because he calls anyone he likes, plays with, talks to, or looks at his friend.

“My friend is digging a hole to bury Darth Vader in,” Jett mentions as we leave the park.

“Which friend is that? What is his name?”

“I don’t know his name. He is just my friend.” Looking at me like I don’t know what friend means.

The look might be justified. Maybe as we grow older we forget what a friend is. I can’t tell you how many people have questioned me about my friendships. I am/used to be friends with some pretty famous people. Other “friends” would always say things like, “you’re not really friends with so-and-so. Just because you met someone does not mean that they are your friend.” I would counter, “Well, I’m invited to their wedding next month. What does that make me paparazzi?”

Nowadays, if I even mention the word friend in regards to someone from the blogosphere, people just walk away as if I’m talking about an imaginary Stormtrooper. When we make so many restrictions on who are friends can be, is it any surprise that we have trouble finding peace?

In an effort to expand the definition of friends, I’ve set up the following comparison.

Real Life Friends Blogging Best Friends (BBFs)
Length I’ve known these friends for about a year and a half now. They are the parents of my son’s best friends pictured above. I started blogging in October 2012,so I’ve known most of my BBFs for less than 5 months
Frequency I see these friends every week usually at my son’s school, basketball practice, or kung fu. I have never met my BBFs in person, but we “talk” almost everyday.
Depth We really don’t talk about anything deeper than the next birthday party. Sometimes I will talk to the fathers about sports. For example, when we talk about films, we discuss good films to take our kids to. My BBFs and I discuss everything in depth. I know their spirituality, hopes, fears, insecurities, and loves. When we talk about films, we discuss films that have changed our lives.
Intimacy I usually shake hands with these friends. I tried hugging the mothers, but was met with some awkwardness. I think I might have told one couple that I like spending time with them. I {{{Hug}}} my BBFs everyday in comments, tweets, and posts. I’ve told many of my BBFs that I love them.
Trust I trust these friends to look out for my children. I haven’t revealed much sensitive information to them, so I’m not sure how much I can trust them as a confidante. I have revealed parts of my dark side to my BBFs, yet they still seem to “like” me, so I trust them as confidantes. Many of my BBFs have taught me how to be a better father, so I would trust them with my children.
Service We help each other out by watching each others kids when one parent is late. We sometimes serve together as volunteers at school or church. My BBFs have guest blogged for me, provided me with free graphic design services, re-blogged my posts, constructed advertising campaigns for a cause I started, and gifted me with custom artwork. We are working together to make the world a better, more peaceful place.

I’m not saying that one type of friend is better than another, but why restrict friendships to the first column?

I recently learned a term called Positive Sentiment Override. The best example I can give is when my two year old son poo-pooed in the bathtub. I ran in the bathroom screaming, “Fox! What the hell are you doing?” I was livid seeing the floaters and flotsam that was contaminating the tub, toys, and toddler. My son, standing in the miry pit, turned away from me and said, “Daddy, wipe my butt-butt.” Suddenly, I was filled with love, tenderness, and appreciation for this little Buddha. Positive sentiment trumped material reality. No matter how negative the circumstances, we can override them with positive sentiment.

Why can’t we have Positive Friendship Override?  When I am knee-deep in crap in the material world, I turn to my BBFs for a wave of positive energy. Bloggers for Peace has been an amazing Positive Friendship Override for me. My  BBFs remind me of the Avengers. The Avengers were the least likely of friends. I mean, who can be friends with the Hulk, right?  Agent Colson’s death solidified a friendship that saved the world. Couldn’t our friendships with the least likely of friends save our world?  God knows we’ve had enough senseless deaths to bond us together.

I’m broadening my definition of friends. I now consider Bob Marley, Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hahn, the Dalai Lama, and Jesus my friends. I may not have had the chance to meet them, but they have gifted me with so much love and wisdom. Maybe if we start considering more people our friends, we will stop making enemies.

My five year old son doesn’t have an enemy in the world. When someone is mean to him, he stops playing with them. A few weeks later, he will say hi to someone on the playground. “I thought that kid was mean to you?” I ask.

“He was, but we’re friends again,” my son replies looking at me like I don’t know how friends act.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

How do you define your friends? In what ways does this definition serve and/or limit you? Please share.

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134 comments on “Friends and Enemies: The Malleable Keys to Peace

  1. Oh Kozo how you echo what I have been feeling.I no longer will stumble for the words that describe what my BBF’s bring to my world.

    It ironically is through my BFF’s that I processed some very personal issues the last year, not my non-cyber friends.
    Praising the love & support I have received from BFF’s like you is what has helped me move from uncertainty to gladness in my heart again.

    Your precious son has the same thought as I, I never met a person who was not my friend. It is just the nature of being open to new faces, new thoughts that builds friendships in meaningful ways. Children do not second guess themselves on this, why should I?

    You know Kozo I needed this today. Thank you MY friend ~

  2. Amazing post, Kozo, amazing! It’s bursting with love and positivity and your precious “Kozo’s touch” 🙂
    The pic of kids is soo cute! Haha and the story and friendship experiences of your sons are adorable – we really have a lot to learn from our kids!

    I personally define no limits of who my friends can be and why. To me simply every person that sincerely smiles back when i smile and not throws a stone at me – is already my Friend by definition.
    I make friends easily and love to bond with people, we have meaningful conversations from the first day knowing each other.

    On the other hand, if someone chooses to throw a stone instead of a smile, i can always maneuver away from it thanks to my quick reaction, and ask that person what can possibly bother him in his/her life.. Then not a stone or a smile, but the tears may follow, which i see almost everyday.. and we become friends 🙂
    I’m not really making things look better than they are, it works for me this way..
    Btw, when we send love and hugs to each other here, i can feel we really mean them! They do bear great energy!

    Thank you for a lovely post, Kozo! {{{Hags}}}

    • Kozo says:

      Brilliant, Sofia. I like how you recognize that all attacks are a cry for help. I can picture one of your books “From Stones to Tears” by Sofia Siberia. 🙂
      I feel your love and hugs. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Wow, you actually gave me the idea of the year! 🙂 I just finally started working on my 1st book to be published next year, and was considering the name…
        You are an endless inspiration, Kozo! Huuugs!

  3. fjpeter1961 says:

    The best definition of a true friend that I have ever heard: A true friend is someone who will stab you in the frront.

  4. vision5d2012 says:

    Thank you Kozo — I especially like the chart. Quite amusing. My definition of “friend” has been much like your son’s. I’ve had many many many friends during my lifetime. I’ve noticed that I tend to be “friends” mostly with people who live near me, or people I work with (I’m retired now, so those “friends” have “retired” from my life. I have been amazed and touched by how deeply I feel for my BBFs. When I began blogging last summer, I never imagined I would make “friends” with so many people in the nooshpere that I will most likely never meet. That makes no difference to me. It’s the opportunity to open up to others in the safe way that blogging provides that has intrigued me and kept me coming back for more. This investigation of “what makes a friend” is a useful one. How wonderful that your son has no enemies. When someone is mean to him, he just stops playing with them — for awhile. I used to do that. Why don’t I do that anymore? Hmmm. Food for thought. Blessings and love, Alia

  5. Le Clown says:

    Kozo,
    Lovely kids, and the Star Wars geek in me found pleasure in your son’s costume!

    My wife’s grandmother once had a conversation with me about Jesus, as she was uncomfortable with my humour on Facebook, when it came to him. She is a devout Christian, and told me that her love for Jesus went beyond her faith, that Jesus was also her friend. And we talked more. I was touched, and she made me understand how friendship can take a very different meaning to any of us. Now I do continue making my own brand of humour, on any topics I choose, but I now make sure that if I do poke fun at Jesus, that I make the post invisible to this lovely woman, because I do respect her friendship with Jesus.
    Le Clown

  6. […] We share the miracles of everyday life to inspire, instruct, and support others and ourselves. For example, Friends and Enemies. […]

  7. […] We share the miracles of everyday life to inspire, instruct, and support others and ourselves. For example, Friends and Enemies. […]

  8. th3bak3rman says:

    As adults, we often dismiss a young child’s comments – such as any person they ever encounter as their friend – as the child being too young to understand the true meaning of the concept. What we need to do, though, is consider the child’s comment, that the child truly understands what he/she has said, and how our lives would be better if we thought the same. Innocence does mean ignorance. Calling everybody friend is a truly welcoming way to look at humanity.

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