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To promote friendship, be a friend.

For the 2015 World Children's Festival, Stephen Smuin, Chris Fiorentini and I designed a special workshop on Friendshipology-our term for the study ' and promotion of friendship. The plan: inspire approximately twenty highly motivated 11 to 13 year-old students from around the globe to promote friendships in their lives and communities. We wanted to begin by creating joy, optimism, and a comfort zone with our group hailing from many different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. By using imaginative artistic games such as Crayon Culture (in which we attach a line of crayons kids have pre-labeled with something they value to the top of a foam core board and use a hair dryer to melt them into a vibrant web of overlapping colors) we could encourage them to open up and find magic qualities in each other. Together, they could discover the enlightening power in group collaboration.

Once this was established, we could begin brainstorming. What is Friendship and why does it matter? How does it begin and how does it grow? What do we need to sustain it? With personal experiences, values, and traditions, we begin to see our differences and similarities. Think of peace and war or love and hate. What can we all agree on? What do we all essentially want? What can we, as 20 young international students, do together to make a meaningful contribution to promoting friendship? Our thought was to put forth our feelings and our hopes by writing, decorating, and signing a Declaration of Interdependence. This was particularly historic during the Festival week of July 4th, which marks the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. We see this as a commitment for children and a challenge for their adult mentors. Together, we can create a world where friendshipology thrives.

Do you have your own ideas for friendshipology? What can you do to involve and challenge adults with serious discussions on what friendship means for our joint communities and world? Gather a group together and see what you come up with. We invite you to share (with your parent's permission) your ideas with ChildArt. Click on the Friendship Fans link on the ChildArt website to download a pdf file with a template for your own friendship fan.

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Title Annotation:Friendshipology workshop
Author:Lee, William
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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