Words about friends

With the Middle Primary children at Language School this term, we are creating music about friendship. Today, after getting the feel-good vibes working with a rendition of Bob Marley’s One Love, and discussing the general characteristics of friends and friendships, I asked the students to draw a picture of themselves and their friend, or friends. It could show their friendships here in Australia, or depict a friendship from their country of origin.

When they finished their drawing I engaged each child in conversation, asking about their picture and about their friends. I wrote down all their words – their phrases and sentences will go on to form the core lyrics for our class composition.

Their descriptions were vivid, and often poignant:

This is me in Honduras, at the beach that I like the most. I am with my brother and sisters and lots of friends. One is my best friend. We share things, we give things to each other, we play together, we sleep in each other’s houses. We read books, we like almost the same things. I don’t have a friend like this in Australia. Not yet.

This is me and my friend in Ethiopia. She comes to my house to play. Then in school-time, she gives me a flower, and I give to her a flower – a flower from Ethiopia.

In Australia, all in the school are my friends, but my sister is my good friend. The school here gives us good friends, and I’m not speaking my language, they are not speaking their language. We all talk in English.

This is my friend – he is Australian but he knows Vietnamese language. He gives me a hug when I am sad and sitting under a tree. Sometimes I give him a flower. Now some leaves in the tree are falling down but the sun is shining.

In Australia and in Ethiopia, my sister is my best friend. We go to school together, we [are] eating together, playing together, going everywhere together. She is my two times friend – she is my sister and my friend!

In Syria we can only go to school. No places to play. In school we can just sit and talk. Or play in the street hide and seek. I miss my friends in Syria. I have best friend, Yusef. He taught me to read Arabic, and now I know how to read and write.

Friends who share things, help each other, and – quite frequently – give each other flowers as an expression of friendship. Four of the eleven children I spoke to mentioned giving a flower to their friend, including one boy. There is a sweet innocence about this that I find very touching indeed.

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