Trust The Children

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Socialization - In The Real World...

The last two weeks have been busier than most. We traveled down to Utah and visited two of Cyndy's sisters, and our own daughters. I didn't know I would get a lesson in home schooling. I am thankful that I did. Louise and Dave are in Perry Utah and have been faithful home schoolers for as long as we have 27+ years. Their kids, all 10 of them are bright, easy to get along with and seem to always score in the high 20's plus on their ACT exams. This family, in my book, is in the "unconscious competent" category. They forge ahead, daily, doing the right things and the kids turn out wonderful and productive.

If I have the story right, two grandparents were both professional educators. Both were very very much against their grandchildren being home schooled. In their eyes, the only kids who home school are the kids who couldn't make it in the "system" and hence were "rejected" and were forced to seek alternative education. They didn't want their grandchildren to be "rejects". Like so many, it didn't occur to them, that home schooling might be a better alternative to educating children than the government model. That would mean that their choice professionally was suspect, and "if I agree to this, how will I get paid?" might have followed.

Predictably, one of their major concerns was their grandchildren becoming social misfits. Since home schooling kids were already rejects, "social misfits" is just a few steps further down the path. (I am sure they didn't frame it this way, but I still think the message gets sent.) Well, one day Grandma took two older kids to the park to play. Immediately they went to the sand box and began doing what boys, (Jason and Jared) do. Roads, houses, cars traveling along the roads, motor sounds, crashes, accidents... all evidence of creative minds given a chance to exercise, and grow.

From the cold north of the park, the big bully showed up. He spied his prey, walked to the sandbox and ... you guessed it, destroyed their city in the sand. Grandmother observed and later shared, that if the bully thought to get a rise from these two young boys, he was disappointed. They ignored him, and began rebuilding their project post haste as he walked away and kept looking back for a "payment" ie response. What happens next is just classic. The bully turns around to wreck destruction again. As he walks up to the sand box, so the story goes, Jason, the older of the two, stood up and confronted him. Jason said, "Why do you want to ruin our roads and stuff?" Jason continued, "If you don't ruin them, you can be our friend and play with us. We aren't going to let you ruin our project again, but we would like you to be our friend." For a second, the bully was confused, then, to Grandmothers astonishment, he smiled, joined the two boys and you guessed it, they play happily ever after that day.

As grandmother related the story I was told that she said, "I don't have any more worries about Jason and Jared being socially capable after what I saw."

Isn't this just classic? At first convinced that home schooling provided little social benefit. Grandparents, (others) are fearing for future of their grandchildren. Yet in the end, they observe the reality, that self confident kids, who have a moral compass successfully imbedded in them, do just fine. At first, so sure home schooling was a disaster, and then after an experience or two, so sure that it isn't.

Be thoughtful about providing opportunities for your children to mix with others of like values. Government schools are not the only place this can take shape. Take "one on one" time to help them work through any difficulties they might encounter, socially or otherwise. Give them a good moral compass and reinforce it daily. I am confident things will work out just fine. Aren't you?


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