And… we’re back! Took a bit of a blogging break to grab some time with my family and friends as we careened towards summer’s finish line. Now I am back in the city, that if you can’t be inspired here you can’t be inspired anywhere, and I am ready to get back to it. But before I get down to the business of grabbing my group and going to the theater, to yoga at the zoo, to each and every stop on the Q, to get fit for custom shoes with my daughter at a store that bears her name, apple picking, to Storm King, skiing in Vermont and on dumpling quests in Chinatown, I want to pause for a moment and offer some words on what I mean by group.
When I say my group I do not mean a specific, set in stone, composition of the same people every time. It is the group who is available and interested in that particular outing. The group could just be a group of two – a mother/daughter outing for instance. My group could mean the 97 people going with me to see SpongeBob SquarePants on November 19th. It is not exclusive. It is not built to keep people out, but rather to invite people in. It is built on the profound belief that the more people I let into my life, the more my life will be enhanced. The bigger my group, the better (assuming the venue can manage the numbers). In other words it is not a clique.
I have a 13 year old daughter. I was once a 13 year old girl in a pretty tightly woven clique. I shudder when I think about the friendships that I abandoned because of that clique. But since I can not change the past, I try to ensure that my 13 year old girl greets her peer group in a way that is as open and aware and as kind as is possible with her shy nature. There is no downside to this particular strategy and she is fortunate to have her Dad’s teflon exterior that enables her to handily weather being rebuffed by some of her icier classmates.
I’ve never up and condemned cliques with her, but was happy to hear her tell a friend recently, “I don’t like cliques. Why exclude people? It’s dumb.” This proud parenting moment brought a big grin to my face while I made a mental note to have her practice richer adjectives.
Cliques are a fact of life. They provide a safe harbor for girls to grow, mature, and figure out who they are. I am okay with that, but maybe as parents we should strive to set the example, be a part of many groups, seek out and or create opportunities to interact with a variety of people? Perhaps this could help our girls accelerate through the “clique” phase and into the “more open to all”, or at least the “more” phase? It’s scary for sure… but so is the thought of not meeting the very people that could so very well enrich your life.
In the interest of being all inclusive… tonight I will be grabbing my group and doing Squats for Sea Lions and Planks for Penguins at 6pm at the Central Park Zoo. What!!?? So fun right!!?? 100% of your $25 ticket will go towards animal conservation. Hope you can join too! As of right now (10:43am) there are SIX tickets left. This event is rain or shine. Registration closes at noon.