A colleague picked up his son at kindergarten. He watched him wave goodbye to some of the other children and said “You are making friends!”
“Yes” said his son happily. He then went quiet for 30 seconds, seemingly lost in thought.
He then asked “Are you my friend, Daddy?”.
A parent could answer this question in many ways, but my favorite comes from the book Beating the Odds, a study of highly academically successful young black men.
Whenever he had to discipline or set limits for his son, the father of one of the remarkable young men in the book would explain his role to his child as follows:
“I am your father first, and your friend second. Some day I will be your friend first and your father second. I will let you know when that day has come.”