About the event
The International Day of Friendship was thought up by Dr. Artemio Brancho, a Paraguayan, in 1958. Brancho, the founder of the World Friendship Crusade, envisaged a day in which the beauty of friendship was celebrated, especially between different nationalities, cultures and communities. The day was proclaimed an official UN observance in 2011 and is used to encourage international understanding, compassion and respect for diversity.
How to approach it
Friendship is such a huge part of all of our lives, but we rarely think about or discuss its benefits. This day offers an opportunity to talk to your class about how to develop and maintain strong, healthy friendships. A good place to start is ThoughtBox’s Think and Thrive curriculum which explores social media, love, friendship and wellbeing. Ask your students what you think a good friendship is. What does it feel like? How do good friends act towards one another? You could discuss good ways to make new friends. Here, you could ask students to roleplay different strategies for meeting new people and finding things in common. Listening exercises are great for this too. Find some light hearted icebreaker questions and instruct your class to practice deep listening in pairs (no questions and no interruptions until the person has finished, then swap over). Encourage students to find commonalities and shared interests.
It’s also a nice idea to think about friendship through the lens of peace and diversity. Once you have established a discussion about friendship, ask students: what is useful about having friends that are different to you? This could be a friend with a different heritage, community, age, or country. A good friendship relies on trust, mutual support and understanding. Ask: what would a world look like if people were friendlier to one another? Finally, you could discuss some strategies for how students could practise this in their own life. This could include something like a penpal from another country, a commitment to talk to lots of different people or a commitment to openness and friendliness in our everyday lives
What makes someone a good friend? How do we become good friends to others, and to the natural world?