buddy

child-cuddling-teddy-bear-16188541I recently learned a new name for the controversial ‘transitional love object’ young children often bond with and carry around. I call them ‘loveys.’ Depending on the particular object, of course, it is often simply called by name: ‘blankie’ comes to mind as an obvious example.

The new-to-me name for this self-soothing companion is ‘buddy.’ As I ponder this, it seems a wonderfully helpful concept. From a young age, you are encouraging a child to understand that, when faced with fear or discomfort or sadness, s/he can call upon a trusted buddy. A friend to actually help. Can’t you hear the conversations? Seeking advice; telling one’s heart; holding tight to get through the dark…

According to the dictionary, ‘buddy’ means a close friend; a working companion with whom close cooperation is required, a partner. It can be used as a term of endearment for one’s son, or a generic name for guy friends. Some definitions suggest it actually came into usage as a child’s version of ‘brother.’ How wonderful to start early to understand the ties that run deep, the ones that truly nurture and help us in need: family.

Of course there are crude uses of ‘buddy’ and repugnant allusions to ‘big brother’ …  and far too many families that do not support one another. Perhaps, though, if we remember the origins of the word, and carry with us the vision of the child who turns to ‘buddy’ for reassurance and comfort, we can help rebuild a world where the kindness and support of family and trusted friends can become a cornerstone of our lived values and experience.

Thank you, WP Daily Post Challenge, for nudging us into ever-expanding and varying word explorations.