The other day I was reading an article about a book written by Carlin Flora called Friendfluence. The article went on to say that the majority of research done on friendship focuses on children and adolescents and that rarely is research conducted to address lifetime friendships.
The article left me thinking about many of my lifetime friendships that were formed because of my involvement in Special Olympics. Friendship is woven into the mission of Special Olympics, and in everything we do. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
In the book Friendfluence, Flora goes in-depth discussing what friendships can do. They can influence our direction, inspire us to reach goals, help us define our priorities, and especially true in Special Olympics – friends help us find and connect with more friends. It is with that thought in mind I encourage each of you to reach out to more people with intellectual disabilities, who may very well be friendless. Form friendships. If we’re lucky and they’re lucky – friendships can equal friends forever.