Once upon a time, in a world where friends and friendship were highly valued, there lived a young boy named Daniel who struggled to make friends of his own. His parents had tried to get him to play outside with the kids from the neighbourhood, but this usually ended with Daniel choosing to sit alone as the other kids played. Now in school, Daniel was having similar troubles and his teachers held regular meetings with his parents to discuss what might be done to help. Seeing the effect this situation was having on Daniel and his family, his grandmother bought him a book titled, How to Make Friends. Daniel thanked his Grandmother and immediately went to his room to get started.
The first chapter described the materials Daniel was going to need to make his new friend. For the insides, there was a surprising amount of wires and circuits needed, but his father was able to source these from the old radios and gadgets he kept in the shed. They unscrewed the radios and gadgets together and then Daniel got started on finding the right coloured wires and the correctly shaped circuit boards. He lined them up neatly on the floor in the correct order required for assembly.
The next chapter described the parts needed to make the body of his new friend. The book suggested using a metal frame for longevity, however, it also mentioned that you could use cardboard boxes in an emergency. Although Daniel felt excited, he wasn’t sure if that counted as an emergency but decided to take the risk anyway. Daniel and his mother were able to locate one large box from their recent move, two medium-sized boxes, four shoe boxes and an empty tissue box in the living room. He lined up all of the boxes next to the electronics, again in their correct order. There was no specific material required for hair, though the chapter did mention that stuffing from a cushion would be perfect. He didn’t want to wreck any of their cushions so Daniel chose to use cotton balls instead. Once he found the bottle caps for the eyes and then cut out the bits of paper for the mouth, he was ready for the assembly.
Luckily for Daniel, the instructions and diagrams were easy to read and he spent the rest of the afternoon cutting, measuring and glueing his new friend together. He would check then double-check the instructions before permanently attaching any of the pieces, as he wanted to make sure he got everything right for his new friend. If Daniel’s new friend wasn’t perfect, then he might not like himself and could end up spending their time together feeling sad and unwanted. Daniel certainly didn’t want that. No, any friend that he made was going to be the best friend anyone could hope for.
After several hours, Daniel was able to stand back and look at his creation. A small smile crept up on his face as he took a moment to look at the friend he had made. He was beautiful.
There were two more chapters left in his book, so, once he tidied up any mess he had made from the hours spent assembling his friend, he sat down on the edge of his bed and read, Chapter 4: Giving Your New Friend a Name. This chapter spoke of the importance of finding the right name and explored the idea that names will determine the personality of your new friend. It provided advice such as, ‘Calling your new friend Michael will help them develop into a very responsible and mature friend, one who will be there for you no matter what happens. While calling your friend Knuckle-Head Fred will force him to become a very fun friend but, perhaps, for all the wrong reasons.’ Daniel thought long and hard and eventually settled on the name Oscar. He guessed that this name would help his friend find the balance being fun (but, not too fun) while being responsible and honest as well.
The final chapter was called, Life With Your New Friend. ‘The happiest and most memorable experiences,’ the chapter read, ‘follow three rules:
1) Friends are involved;
2) They happen outside; and
3) Adults are not telling you what to do or how to play.’
Daniel understood what the book was trying to say, so he grabbed his skateboard, carefully picked up Oscar and took him outside. His parents watched from a distance as Daniel tried to teach Oscar how to ride a skateboard along their driveway. Even after several attempts, Oscar still wasn’t very good at riding his skateboard, but, neither was Daniel for that matter. By chance, a boy the same age as Daniel who lived down the road, happened to be riding his bike on the quiet street in front of their houses. He pulled up beside the Daniel and Oscar. “You’ve got to bend the leg that’s on the skateboard,” suggested the boy and he hopped off his bike to come and help.
“My name’s Sam. What’s yours?”
“I’m Daniel. And this is Oscar,” Daniel replied.
“Cool.” Sam paused for a moment and stared at the two of them before smiling. “Hey, Oscar. Nice to meet you.”
The three of them continued practising riding the skateboard until Daniel was able to make it several meters without falling off. Eventually, Sam asked if he could go and get 2 of his other friends so that Daniel could show them his new friend.
“Um. I guess so,” replied Daniel.
“Cool. I’ll be back in a minute.”
As Sam went to get his other friends, Daniel and Oscar sat beside each other on the skateboard and enjoyed a quiet moment together. Daniel felt a sense of joy he hadn’t felt before. Making friends might not be that hard after all, he thought as he saw the three other boys walking down the street towards him.
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