One Jai Is Never Enough
Your kids friends matter SO much. So much. I suspect most people don't think about it until they stumble upon a friend that they don't like, but at the risk of sounding terribly elitist, my thoughts are that you need to help them pick good ones early, and hope that they develop a connection or attraction to all of the qualities that their earliest friends exhibit. They get comfortable with what's familiar, and if being treated badly is the norm, or being taken for granted, or being used, or being led into these shenanigans or those, then that's exactly what they'll come to call friendship. Conversely, if they're treated with respect, and love, and enthusiasm...as equals, with give and take, with kindness above all else, then everything short of that will stand out in stark relief...like a sore thumb. That's why when Zoey calls her friend Jai her best friend, we smile.
Jai's a good, good boy...not just a good boy, no, a good, good boy. He's excited to see his friend Zoey, and he's easy to be around...oh so easy. He's kind and respectful, open and honest, enthusiastic times ten, and he likes Zoey...as in enough to value her feelings and company. They're insanely cute together and Zoey often refers to Jai as one of the only boys she likes, along with Daddy, Uncle B, Reece, Beezer, Bob, and Uncle Ian...apparently grandfathers don't count as "boys." He's parental approved through the roof, and unbeknownst to him, he's busy building a framework for friendship for Zo...a good one.
What we want more than anything is for bad choices and bad treatment, and bad ideas and people to stand out in Zoey's life...to be illuminated by all of the good, and make it easier for her to navigate those waters with such obvious beacons. We want her making her own decisions and carving out her own directions and paths but we want as much awful stuff as possible to have gleaming light houses warning her to steer clear. Good friends are more than just good examples of what she should be looking for, but great measuring sticks to contrast the bad with.
Jai never treats Zo badly. He never takes her for granted or shuns her. He never dismisses her for others. He's just a good, good boy, and as parents we're pretty stoked about the Jai's in our daughter's life, but especially this one.