Childhood friends share their stories

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Childhood friends share their stories

Lakyn Hawks and Krislyn Thomas in elementary school

Lakyn Hawks and Krislyn Thomas in elementary school

Lakyn Hawks and Krislyn Thomas in elementary school

Lakyn Hawks and Krislyn Thomas in elementary school

Emily Shupe

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Some friendships around our school have lasted since childhood.  Some of these bonds have lasted for over a decade. Many around our school wonder what the key is to a strong, everlasting friendship.  Everyone has a different opinion on what makes a friend. We have different expectations out of our relationships, and that can be what causes them to deteriorate or prosper.

In the film “The Big Chill,” the message that reoccurs is “It’s a cold world out there, but friends can make it a warmer place.”  When children are in their earliest stage of childhood, a friend could be considered more of a playmate. There would be no understanding of personality and character traits.  Between seven and nine we begin to start understanding each other’s feelings. Then, friends are seen as people who help each other when kids are between nine and twelve. Friends at this age have been proven to boost self-esteem.

Lakyn Hawks, a junior, said, “Me and Krislyn Thomas have been friends since second grade.  I moved here from North Carolina, and I was terrified at first. I was a seven-year-old who just had moved into a new school with tons of new faces.  It was different for me, but Krislyn was the one who made an effort to speak to me. I looked up to her because she was so bold and outgoing. Other students didn’t want to talk to me because I was someone new, but she was not like everyone else.  Ever since then we have been super close. I feel like it was fate for me to meet her. She is always there for me through everything, and I know I can trust her. Even today I look forward to going to her house as much as I did when I was seven.”

Krislyn Thomas, Lakyn’s friend since childhood, said, “When I first started talking to Lakyn, I knew we would grow to be super close.  The way she makes me smile when nobody else can is so special. I’m so happy I had the courage to go and talk to her because now I don’t know what I would do without her.”

Friendships during the preadolescent phase benefit psychological health and improve school work.  More than half of children who have emotional or behavioral problems have bad social skills with peers.  There is a stereotype that boys don’t form the same level of attachment in friendships as girls do. This is false, as we all want the closeness of others whether we are female or male.  

Andrea Heffinger, a junior, said, “Makenzie [Phipps] and I have been close for a long time.  I remember in pre-k, I was sitting at the bottom of the slide and she slid down and hit my back.  We were each other’s first friend. What I love about her is how creative she is. We both are artistic in a way since I love drawing and she’s an amazing singer.  I always think back to all of our crazy memories like how one time we were playing in the hay bales next to my house, and I lost my flip flops and finally found them two years later.  We’ve changed with each other and got over our differences. Now, unfortunately, we don’t have any classes together, but we make time for each other.”

“I love how me and Andrea met.  It was just a spur of the moment kind of thing.  I remember just blatantly asking her if she wanted to be my friends.  She pushes me to do my best at everything. I just miss getting to see her all day every day, but now we have volleyball together and she’s one of the main people who makes it so fun,” Makenzie Phipps, a junior, said.  

Without technology, children are more likely to interact with others and have strong interaction and creativity skills.  Time has greatly changed to where communication and technology are linked together. Now, instead of waiting the next day to see your friend, you can just text them or call them easily.  Years ago people didn’t have this advantage. Some believe that this could be a part as to why more and longer friendships are made.

Having friends from different backgrounds allow a broader mind of thinking.  With who they surround themselves with, kids will often try to follow the same path as people in their friend group. Friends can help us interact with others and be less judgmental. They can change the stereotypes of certain groups of people.  

With new school years and new classes, if they have a class without their close friend it is hard to keep the same amount of interaction.  Parenting is a strong base for friendships. They present good versus bad behavior to their child and allow them to socialize. Friends use each other for guidance. Their friend’s opinion may matter more than anyone else’s based on trust.  Some may think their friend having certain character traits makes or breaks a good bond.

Paul Schwartz, a professor of psychology and child behavior expert, said, “Friendships contribute significantly to the development of social skills, such as being sensitive to others viewpoints, learning the rules of conversation, and age-appropriate behaviors. More than half the children referred for emotional behavioral problems have no friends or find difficulty interacting with peers.”

There is no “key” to friendship. Change is inevitable but sometimes friends change, and that’s what keeps friendship from deteriorating. It’s hard to keep a friendship but with determination to stay close is possible. Also, with patience and common interests it is known that friendships will have a higher chance of lasting.  The friends that have their “rocky” moments and come back stronger are always the best. Some could say communication is key, yet it all depends on if friendship is strong enough to last through troublesome issues.