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For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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My seven-year-old asks if he can invite Max over for an after-school playdate. The two have been good friends since preschool so my answer is usually an easy "yes," but this time, I encourage Geoffrey to think about another friend. He and Cole have been friends for several years too, but it's been a while since they've played together outside the second-grade classroom.

"It's ok, Mom," he told me. "I'm just trying to even things out from preschool. Remember? That's when Cole came over every week."

I smile at his logic, then marvel at the thought behind it.

I don't believe friendship involves a score card--and neither do my second-grade mom friends--but I'm surprised Geoffrey looked at the situation from another boy's perspective.

Gwen Dewar, biological anthropologist and founder of, lists "empathy" as one of five skills parents can foster in their children that will help them make friends. (The other four skills parents can foster? Conversational skills, emotional self-control, willingness to compromise and offer help, willingness to take turns and follow rules.)

Journal Entry: Write about a time you watched your child "walk in another's shoes." Describe the situation, then speculate about what prompted your child to respond as he or she did. Or, if you talked about it afterwards: what reasoning did your child give for his or her response?

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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