My mom used to teach us a little song when we were kids:
Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is silver,
But the other's gold.
Somehow, that has become a deep value for me. I've always sought to hang onto my friends. I was fortunate in college to learn how to make and keep friends with a group of ragamuffins – outliers and outcasts, all of us.
Over the years, we've stayed in touch. We've all gone through hard times. Some of our guys have gotten divorced and some have had difficult marriages. Some of us have had kids who were easy to raise. And others have struggled with children who made parenting a trial.
All of us have needed encouragement. All of us have run short of friends along the way and have found ourselves able to breathe easier in the company of our old friends.
In the wake of the economic downturn of the last five years, many of us feel poorer, but the tragedy is that so many of us fail to prioritize friendships. On average, people have two good friends – a 50% decline from a generation ago.
I'd rather be richer in friends than in investments. It's a theme others have recognized and prioritized over the years. Here are four quotes on friendship I like:
“The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.”
“If I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together.”
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
“It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”
Do you have friends you could you call up at 4 a.m.? Who of your friends will fight for you? Who will you fight for? What would it take for you to prioritize your friends more than you do?