“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali
During this time in isolation, many of us are missing the company of friends. When lockdown is over, we will all be able to enjoy and appreciate the friends who have been absent in our lives. No amount of virtual ‘House parties’ or ‘Zoom’ calls will compensate for face to face love, laughter and chats!
Some of us may even have developed new friendships during this unique time of lockdown.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you” – Dale Carnegie.
On Wednesday 22nd April, it is National Stephen Lawrence Day. A day to celebrate the life of a young black teenager who, in 1993, was senselessly murdered because of the colour of his skin.
Stephen was a talented person. He was gifted in the art of still life drawing and was a good mathematician. He hoped to go to university to study architecture. Sadly, and tragically this never happened.
To celebrate the life of Stephen I want us all to think about the value of friendship. Now more than ever in isolation, think about the individual qualities of all the friends you are longing to see.
Stephen’s best friend was someone called Elvin O’duro. Elvin remembers many good times with Stephen. They were best of friends for many years. Let us take time this week to remember Stephen.
#BecauseOfStephen ‘High 5’ challenges in isolation
Here are some of the things Elvin remembers about his best friend Stephen.
- #BecauseOfStephen ‘He was a great walker. And what a runner! I remember the time we walked all the way from New Cross to Grove Park.’ The distance is 4.5 miles and would, on average, take around an hour and a half. Can you walk around your garden or house for the same time? Can you plan a 4.5-mile walk that you can do with a friend once we are out of lockdown?
- #BecauseOfStephen One of Stephen’s many skills was still life drawing and he was also good at maths. Elvin was great at painting and so they helped each other. That’s what good friends do. Write a letter or a poem all about how a special friend helps you titled ‘My friend, I miss you because…’
- #BecauseOfStephen Elvin and Stephen painted faces of bands and famous people on t-shirts and had many requests for their fantastic works of art. Create a picture with a special sign or symbol that can be put onto a t-shirt for a special friend of yours. Give it to them after lockdown is over as a special gift.
- #BecauseOfStephen Stephen wanted to be an architect. Build a tower out of anything you can find in the house and see how tall you can make it. You can use cardboard boxes, lego, bottles, cups, be as creative as you like!
- #BecauseOfStephen Stephen liked helping people. His family had a rota and it was Stephen’s turn to do the washing up. This happened to be Christmas day and there was so much to do! Even though it took him two and a half hours, Stephen was determined to finish the lot! In isolation make a ‘Stephen promise’ and offer to do some jobs around the house like cleaning, cooking or washing up! Your family will be your friends for life!
All of these challenges can be done by people of all ages!
Stephen was a good friend. He was a special person who should never be forgotten. Stephen’s favourite colour was orange. On Stephen Lawrence Day, April 22nd, we invite you to wear something orange and light a candle to him.
Celebrate Stephen, remember the good he continues to bring to the world.
There is always hope and out of darkness comes light.
Mrs Hart, Adviser to Child of Wales.