CS Lewis once said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
No where have I seen a more salient example of tyrannical omnipotent moral busybodies than those who have decided that children should not have best friends:
But increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?
Most children naturally seek close friends. In a survey of nearly 3,000 Americans ages 8 to 24 conducted last year by Harris Interactive, 94 percent said they had at least one close friend. But the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying.
“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”
“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.”
This is beyond stupid; it’s dangerous. Best friends are an integral part of childhood. The bond a child develops with a best friend helps him or her and the best friend develop and mature emotionally. Even if a best friendship should suffer a break, it is a learning experience that helps those children become more emotionally well-rounded. And each successive best friend experience provides a new level of development that children take with them as they grow into emotionally mature adults.
Besides, our culture has become far too superficial already. Take sex for example. There was a time when sex had a deeply emotional meaning to it, so it was done only within the confines of an emotionally fulfilling and committed relationship. Today, however, adults and even teenagers engage in it as if were nothing more than a handshake.
I also agree with the Anchoress’s view on this new no best friends movement.