AuthorRudy Parachoniak

Best Friends Are Being Banned!?

Perhaps you’ve heard – down in the good ol’ U.S. of A, they’re working hard to ensure that no one feels left out. Sure, mass shootings are becoming common place but it’s not the guns or the ease of accessibility to guns that’s the problem. What’s the real problem in America you ask? Best Friends.

Last month, it was revealed that a number of schools in the U.S. are planning to ban ‘best friends’. The  term is “mean” and “exclusive”. If two kids decide that they are two peas in a pod – well, let’s just keep that to ourselves. We wouldn’t want the other kids feeling like they aren’t good enough to be the friend of choice. This whole attempt to make everyone feel loved and accepted has gone too far. We are trying to correct something that isn’t an issue. I mean, is this really the best use of our time and energy?

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had a friend that we consider to be our confidant…our bestie…our BFF if you will. It’s the person you enjoy spending your time with. The person that knows your dreams, your fears, your secrets, your loves. The person that truly knows YOU. When you need someone to talk to, odds are you ring up your best friend. This is not to say that everyone classifies their friends in this way. Some people have a best friend yet have never publicly announced it. And why should they? Whether you use the term best friend or not shouldn’t matter and it certainly shouldn’t be a topic that is dissected and analyzed to death.

Over the last number of years, I have heard of other ‘important’ issues that need our immediate attention and should be banned. These include such awful and potentially physically or emotionally scarring activities as climbing a tree, tobogganing, drinking out of a hose, celebrating Halloween / Christmas / Easter, etc. We look for balance when we’re hiring staff. After all, we can’t just look for the best candidate for the role…we need to ensure we have an equal number of males to females, minorities to…is it whites? Caucasians? I’m afraid of using the wrong term here.

What about your favorite sports teams? The Chicago Blackhawks – racist. Cleveland Indians – racist. Washington Redskins – racist. Atlanta Braves – racist. I’m not suggesting that these names are still relevant in today’s politically charged society, I’m just saying that when a team has been around since 1926, as the Chicago Blackhawks have, maybe we should let it be. It’s almost been 100 years and, through most of that, no one has had a real issue with it.

Whatever happened to winners and losers? Passing and failing? I hate to break it to you, but life isn’t always fair. When you apply for a job, you may not get it! When you compete in sports, you may actually lose! This is life people and in life, there are successes and failures. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is having our children believe that we live in a world where these things won’t happen to them. Banning the term best friend only sets them up for feeling even more left out when they are not welcomed by others in the real world. Not everyone is going to like you.

A couple of years ago, my kids came home from school to tell me that they couldn’t wear their costumes to school on Halloween. I can understand if they chose a costume that was either excessively violent or extremely inappropriate – but we’re talking about a princess and a superhero here. Sure, a princess may be perceived as an unrealistic representation of today’s independent working woman and a superhero may prompt people to ask why isn’t there an ‘iron woman’ – but honestly, I don’t care and neither do my kids. Why? Because they have no idea that there is even an issue! They’re kids! Let them dream about living in a castle with prince charming or flying through the air protecting the world from evil monsters. Instead, we were told, they could dress in orange and black. Halloween had become ‘orange and black day’ so as not to offend anyone and be inclusive of everyone. Thing is, my kids didn’t own any orange clothing. Should I cry foul too!? Protest!!?

Not everyone celebrates everything in the same way. Some don’t celebrate at all. But isn’t that what makes us special? Shouldn’t we celebrate our differences and learn more about each other rather than banning the things that make life enjoyable and interesting? Everyone has a choice, but that choice shouldn’t be made for us when it comes to the little things like ‘best friends’.

Personally, all of this need to change the way things have always been done, appears to be a bit of a popularity contest in and of itself. To rally the troops behind your cause. To garner more votes. As a Canadian, the fact that the national anthem needed to be changed in order to better reflect today’s easily offended society was and is offensive. Let’s be real, was it really that big of an issue? REALLY?

As I sit here and reflect on how I grew up and how my friends and family were raised, long before everything was placed under a microscope in an effort to find something…anything…that could be considered offensive, I smile. Life was good. It was easier. It even felt safer. We could be kids. We could hang out with our best friends, climb a tree, drink out of the hose and think about what we wanted to dress up as for Halloween. Our favorite sports teams were just that – a team to cheer for. We never thought about race or the deeper meanings behind why our teams were named as they were. We just lived each day without over thinking it.

Maybe, just maybe, we weren’t broken in the first place.

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