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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Same Gender Friendships, Reflections

     Peer relationships are among the most important a child will have. So many of his or her beliefs will be formed because of the company surrounding them on a daily basis. The two anecdotes I have shared with you demonstrate two different kinds of same gender relationships I had growing up. (If you missed those stories, the links are below.) Little Molly admired me as a camp leader she liked and MJ would even try to walk fifty miles just to be with me. I can guarantee you, dear Reader, that neither Molly nor MJ had any sexual thoughts about our relationships and neither did I! They were, indeed, special relationships to me but pure relationships, to be sure. Today’s youth are missing the innocence of such friendships, fearing what they might indicate.

     I am grateful to have been born in a time when many of the moral issues of today’s world were never disputed. I cringe at some of the things I read concerning present-day beliefs for the pre-adolescent and early adolescent behavior related to their same gender peers. “Back in my day”, says the old lady, girls had best friends and they enjoyed talking about the boys who seemed so silly compared to them. Girls matured earlier than boys, and still do, I reckon, so they seemed to do silly things in the view of the girls.

     We enjoyed playing together with our best friends and any talk of sex was accompanied with giggles and whispers. I recall one best friend and I as teens stealing away the family Medical Handbook to look at the layered colored pictures of the human body, male body, of course, and giggling with amusement as much as scientific interest. My life’s work has been in the medical/nursing industry and she has been a physician for many years! Did we prefer being with girls more than boys? Yes, we all did, except when walking those halls between classes during high school or on a Friday or Saturday night, of course. Dating was a big deal and everyone wanted to have a boyfriend. We never thought of a girl in this regard but now, if a pre-teen or teenager says they prefer spending more time with a same gender friend, they are labeled as gay. I don’t get that and I am so glad to have missed that “modern way of thinking”.

     It was not until the first decade of my life came to a close that I began thinking of boys as different from girls. After that, boys had a special place in my life; but, as my body began to change and those hormones kicked in, I found it much more comfortable to spend the majority of my free time with the girls. Boys were interesting and strange, all at the same time. The relationships with girls helped me to understand a lot about myself, as well as about boys. In addition, my friends had brothers so I found they knew a lot more about what was going on with the guys than I did. I probably could have asked my father but, well, if I had, his first heart attack might have come a lot sooner than it did. My mother? Ha, you’ve got to be kidding, right? My precious little mother was born in 1922 and raised in Australia. Believe me, such things were never spoken of aloud! She had four brothers but hormonal changes, boys’ behavior, etc. were just not talked about with anyone. She hoped, rightfully, that someone would tell me what I needed to know. What a relief it was for her when I showed her the colorful little booklet I had been given to introduce the girls to menstrual cycles. Nope, Mom was not going to tell me anything much about the opposite gender.

     I am grateful to God for the many good friendships I had with girls during those growing up years. I know that I am the better person for having shared that time in my life with each of them. May God restore the freedom and innocence of these relationships for the youth of today!

Links to Molly’s story:    Scene 1        Scene 2

Links to MJ’s story:       Scene 1        Scene 2          Scene 3

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