Monday, April 18, 2011
There's Your *School Socialization*!
Here's the gist of a conversation last night between my first wife and my firstborn, homeschooled 6.42 year old Prince:
Prince - Mom how come when I go up to other kids, and say hello they don't want to play with me?
MyFirstWife - Well...
Prince - I'm always real nice....I say my name is 'John' but no one wants to play with me.
MyFirstWife - Not everyone is...
Prince - AND NOBODY EVER COMES UP TO ME, SAYS 'HI', AND INTRODUCES THEMSELF TO ME.
It is true - I see my son's playground and ballfield overtures spurned all the time (80%?). We, or at least I, don't do *playdates*. I think it's much better to take them to parks and have them play with random kids. So in clement weather, a few times per week we drop in on these playgrounds and my kids dash out and try to make friends. My son is particularly aggressive on this front - he ABSOLUTELY LOVES playing with other kids - a trait he clearly inherited from his paternal grandfather.
This spurning has been going on for sometime, beginning the instant his peers reached *school* age, and it's getting worse as they get older and arrive in cliques sans parents. My wife actually heard some 6 or 7 year old child rebuff ours recently with, "I don't know you."
Well, this is the world we live in. There's nothing to do about it except adjust - although one shouldn't ever permit the shortcomings of others to adulterate their own character. Like living in Boston where everyone is as rude as a mofo....it's easy to submit to that environment and holster your own friendliness.
Heck if I went up to grown adults (with graduate degrees!) and tried to conversationally engage them with the frequency my son does, I'd be shot down with the same regularity (80%). (Of course down South it's a different story! Not as many graduate degrees...)
I've said this more than a few times before and I'll say it again:
SCHOOLS actually ANTI-SOCIALIZE CHILDREN.
Please don't mistake this for the chauvinistic propaganda of a homeschooler either.
My wife, despite living amongst the millions of people in New York....she didn't have a single friend outside of her 16,000 person town growing up. NOT A SINGLE ONE.
And I can't tell you how many parks, playgrounds, and sports leagues I participated in as a youth without EVER thinking for a second about talking to another kid that wasn't on my team or wasn't a friend of a friend. Strangers and out-of-my-towners may as well have been aliens, hostile ones at that.
So when I see these other kids flick away my son like a fingertip booger, sure I'm sensitive to my son's disappointment, but I also see myself in these other kids. Personally it's taken me years to undo my own anti-social school-induced ignorance.
And I'm even more thankful that I came across that John Gatto essay 4.75 years ago, started thinking, did my research, mustered the stones to tear apart my own *credentials*, and decided to keep my children miles away from that instrument of dehumanization.