Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Walk beside me and be my friend

Another fine saying (see my recent blog) is this one: “Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead. Walk beside me… just be my friend.” It’s usually attributed to Albert Camus (1913-1960), who had already died before this saying appeared in a local US newspaper.

On 2 December 1971, Dr. William F. Knox, “Personal Counselor”, mentions this quote in his article ‘Just Be My Friend’ in the Quincy Sun newspaper (scroll to “Knox” in text file). He uses this quote in a rather unexpected context: “Maybe that’s what “being a father” is all about… just being a friend.”

In my view, friendship assumes some kind of equality, even while backgrounds (eg, financial, social) may differ widely. In my view, parents should never aim to be “friends” with their children. Parents teach, children learn, although these roles may reverse in due time (eg, book). Equality undermines this equation.

The ancient Greek philosophers were less confused than we are because they separated love for friends (ie, philia) from familial and/or parental love (ie, storge). By creating a container term (ie, “love”) we have created lots of confusion and lots of “Love Is…..” cartoons to explain the various kinds of love.

Below is the 1971 hit song You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King. It explains friendship in simple terms: just call out my name and I’ll be there. I have few friends that would match this simple criterion.

The above quote clearly also assumes some kind of equality: Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead. Walk beside me… just be my friend.

My very first girlfriend looked up at me, and not only because of me being tall. Even then, it made me feel quite uncomfortable. There’s something “inappropriate” in walking behind your friend, your husband, your lover, or even your parents. I suppose you may not be able to protect them, when needed.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13 sub 4-7

Note: bold marking in quote above by LO.

You’ve Got a Friend (1971) by Carole King
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-song

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’ to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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