Having friends is important at every age and it’s during childhood that people learn how to be a friend and discover what it takes to develop and sustain a friendship. You depend on your friends to work with you when you play team sports, and you count on them to be by your side if you are trying to solve a mystery, especially if you are facing anything scary or risky. So, a sports-mystery sets the stage for an important lesson in childhood.
Parents and other role models make an effort to teach children that friends expect the same things from each other that family members expect – loyalty, honesty, trust, sympathy, and understanding.
However, even within the framework of family, these are difficult concepts for children to understand, accept, and uphold. When dealing with people outside the family, it becomes even more complicated.
Friends Often Play the Role of Family
Sometimes family isn’t available – mom and dad, brothers and sisters aren’t there on the ice, on the bench, on the floor, on the field, on the playground, or in the classroom – and it’s friends who will have your back, or maybe not.
Children learn from their own experiences what adults wish they understood and were prepared to accept from the start. Sometimes you can’t trust people to be loyal, honest, and trustworthy, and they may let you down. What then?
There is no escaping this life lesson, and tragic as it is for children to realize they can’t always count on family to be around and they can’t always count on friends to stand by them, they also discover something wonderful. They discover what true friendship really means and how it can enrich their lives. When times get tough, the tough and the not so tough count on friends to help them deal with whatever they are facing.
The adult world knows that some of the friends made in childhood continue to be there for them – face to face, on e-mail, on the phone, reaching out, 50 years or more, later. And it starts right there in childhood.
We Love A Delicious Thrill – If It’s Shared
In “Something’s Missing,” each of our main characters – Chris, Jaylon, and Rebecca – are exposed to a particular aspect of friendship and begin to understand another dimension of what it means to be a friend and to have a friend. When the three get together to solve the mystery, they recognize kindred spirits. In respecting each other’s contribution to solving the problem they face, new friendships are formed and trust is born.
Children can always relate to importance of having someone with them in risky situations and I think a mystery story for children needs to include the element of friends standing by, ready to help out. In this first book, none of the three (http://www.list.or.kr/articles/article_view.htm?Div1=1&Idx=739) face any kind of danger and the best I can ever do in a children’s story is introduce the element of risk. Children love that vicarious thrill! I’ll ramp it up in the next book.
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