The Greatest Gift We Can Offer a Friend

In my darkest days I have struggled with chronic pain, bullying, workplace bullying, and divorce. During these times, my friends couldn’t change any of these situations. I was the person who had to pursue new medical treatments, find a new job, and grieve a past relationship. However, the simple act of a friend listening reminded me that I was still loved, that my feelings were valid, and that I did have skills to improve my situation.

How has a friend listening helped you heal? Please leave a reply below to share the blessings of listening.

In addition, to encourage conversation about listening with children and adults, share William Carlos Williams’ poem below. This poem beautifully describes the great gift of being present for a friend.

The Friend Who Just Stands

When trouble comes your soul to try, 
You love the friend who just “stands by.” 
Perhaps there’s nothing he can do- 
The thing is strictly up to you; 
For there are troubles all your own, 
And paths the soul must tread also alone; 
Times when love cannot smooth the road 
Nor friendship lift the heavy load, 
But just to know you have a friend 
Who will “stand by” until the end, 
Whose sympathy through all endures, 
Whose warm handclasp is always yours- 
It helps, someway, to pull you through, 
Although there’s nothing he can do. 
And so with fervent heart you cry, 
“God bless the friend who just ‘stands by’!”

By: William Carlos Williams

An art project made out of wax sticks by a student in the Respect Program. The lesson theme that day was “Healthy Friendships.”

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