How Five People Can Change Your Life (and possibly stop drama)

two-upset-friendsBy Sabrina Bong — Drama in the middle school has been at an all-time high recently.

A lot of it, in my opinion, is due to the fact that my sixth graders are slowly transitioning out of that “honeymoon phase.” It used to be that everyone was friends with everyone. They were all sixth graders, and so they felt the need to bond together against the older students. But now that they have a full semester under their belts, they are beginning to push the boundaries. Cliques are forming. People are picking battles with others. Skirmishes break out.

Recently, I was looking up ideas of how to curb the female drama occurring in one particular class. As I flipped through old textbooks and activity guides that I had used in years passed, I began to feel desperate because there was no one solution that would help me. Finally, I did what any other tech-savvy counselor would do and consulted the all-knowing Google. Though I did not find a solution that would help me eliminate girl drama (if you have any ideas, please let me know!) I did find an interesting quote that I used as a basis for my talk.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Reading that quote caused me to stop and ponder this statement. Who were the five people I spent the most time with? And, in the end, did I want to be an average of those five people?

If I really thought about it, the five people I spend the most time with are my parents, my fiancé, and the two counselors that I work with. And if I really scrutinize myself and my personality, I can find certain qualities that I embody from each person. I am a sports fanatic like my father, who raised me to believe that football is almost like a religion. We eat, sleep, and breathe Green Bay Packers during football season! Like my mother, I can be incredibly organized when I need to be. I color-code and put post-it notes on EVERYTHING. I have gained a little of Rob’s assertiveness, and (hopefully) the other counselors’ patience and flexibility. Each piece is a part of me, and something I hold dear. In truth, I am proud to be an average of these five individuals.

When I went up to the classroom, I had each of my students write down the five people they spent the most time with. Almost everyone put down a parent. Almost everyone put down their two “team teachers.” After that, the lists started to vary. Some students put me. Some put friends. Some put grandparents, or other relatives. Once they were done with writing down their five people, I asked them, “Would you be okay being an average of these five people?”

The expressions on my students’ faces were priceless. Some were really pleased and said, without hesitation, that they were okay with the five people they had written. But some made horrible faces. I remember one girl said, “Yuck! No!” really loudly.

Granted, I don’t think this will stop the drama. Drama will continue for as long as middle school exists. But I hope this causes my students to pause and think about who their friends are. So, I challenge all of you blog readers to think about this: who are the five people you spend the most time with? And are you okay with being their “average”?

1 Response to “How Five People Can Change Your Life (and possibly stop drama)”

  1. 1 Mike Soika February 10, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I received this from a friend and cant vouch for the accuracy of the entire story. But – the process explained seems beneficial and similar to the one you came upon.

    Every Friday afternoon a teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

    On Friday, after the students go home, the teacher takes out those slips of paper and studies them. She looks for patterns.

    Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

    Who doesn’t even know who to request?

    Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

    Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

    The teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Instead, the teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.


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