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Why can't we just play baseball together? What Dr. Seuss and our children teach us about friendship.

Sunday, July 12, 2009
I am a mom of two boys - two boys who love to play baseball.

Yesterday, we attended a BBQ hosted by some new friends we met through our youngest son's daycare. When we arrived the only person I knew was the mom and her son. I enjoy meeting new people, but it always seems awkward.

I believe society has taught us to compare ourselves to one another in less than favorable ways.

I have "rich" friends and "poor" friends, "fat" friends and "skinny" friends.

I have friends who are "straight" and others who are "gay"; some who are dark-skinned, light-skinned and others who have skin problems.

I have friends who want you to know that they make more money than you and others who never discuss their wealth.

I have friends with "style" and others who could benefit from a fashion coordinator.

I have friends who greet you with a hug, a handshake a cordial hello.

I am grateful for all of my friends, but often wish forming friendships was simpler.

There are lessons we can learn from our children about making friends. My oldest son did not know anyone at the BBQ when we arrived so he picked up a bat and ball and started playing baseball.

About 15 minutes later, a family we had never met arrived. They had an older son and younger daughter. Within 5 minutes, the boy approached my son and asked “can I pitch to you?”

Wait…there was no discussion about who has the larger allowance, who has more Pok√©mon cards, or whose grades were higher on their last report cards.

A wise friend recently reminded me that we are all created equal. The effects of the economy have helped remind us of this simple truth.

Remember “The Sneetches” - a story written by Dr. Seuss about a group of creatures who live on a beach? Some Sneetches have a green star on their bellies ("in crowd") and others do not. In the end, neither plain-belly nor star-belly Sneetches was superior, and they were able to get along and become friends.

Whether you choose to take the advice of Dr. Seuss or continue to follow the trends of society; I would challenge you to take pause and observe what our children teach us everyday about meeting new people, friendship and having fun.

The next time you have the opportunity to meet someone and make a new friend, simply ask: “do you want to play baseball?”