It was a fine afternoon. I was running my routine on Tuesday. I picked up my 11 year old student from his home. Driving back to my house for his lesson, it took us 12 minutes. The short drive revealed alot about this young boy’s understanding on friendship. Here’s the conversation.

Student: Miss Lai, why is it so difficult to make friends ?

Me: Oh, why do you say that ? I’m sure you have alot of friends in school.

Student: I have friends but they are not real.

Me: What do you mean not real?

Student: They are not my real friends. They just pretend to be my friends so they can borrow my things. Once they are done using them, they just ignore me. I’m just a “thing” to them. Its like a can. When you need a place to put your things, you will use the can. When the can is not even rusted, you just throw them away.

My heart sank as he said the above words. I paused. And replied.

Me: Well, friends come and go. Only true friends will stay with you for life. Don’t feel sad that you are losing friends. You learn who your true friends are in time. You can always make new friends.

Students: Its difficult to make new friends. I tried to befriend a year 6 student but was told to go away, as he is busy revising for his major examinations.

My heard sank even deeper when the above words struck my hearing cords.

Me: Do you have friends here in your tuition class?

Student: Yes, I do. I like coming to tuition class. It’s fun being with the people here in class. They make me laugh.

Me: I’m glad you feel that way. You see, friends are always around, only if you know where to look for them.

He finally smiled. We arrived to our destination. He was greeted by his tuition mates, awaiting for his arrival in class. My day continues.

I cannot change the social settings in his schooling environment. I am only one. I teach what I can to whoever walks pass my path. I hope one day, this young boy will truly discover a friend whom he can rely and depend on. Friends do exist.