I think it’s best not to make it such a glaring contrast. Of course, sharing and polite play should be encouaged because these are Good Things, but we shouldn’t make kids believe that’s the way the world is.
Some kids learn to cooperate with others in a different fashion. I guess “negotiate” would be a better word. Other kids seem to want to stick with the sharing rules and they get upset with the others who want to change the rules. Instead of negotiating, they sometimes run to the adults for backup or refuse to play. Basically, the rules become self-sustaining, with the kids themselves enforcing and changing them to suit their environment. Some kids are okay with that, and some have a harder time. It’s that ability to adapt to changing systems which seems to start a kid down the “popular” path.
“Endorse” isn’t the right word. There will always be unpopular kids in any environment. Children will always single out a certain percentage of the group to be outcasts. They will search for a trait which allows for discrimination. That’s just the nature of children and their social sturcture.
I’m just fascinated by the structure of social groups. I make no judgement-calls.
In a sense, yes, but I don’t think that it’s a concious decision. Our educational system doesn’t seem to take into account the social-animal aspects of childhood when setting up how they’ll be educated.
This is one of those questions which really doesn’t have a concrete answer. It’s much like the way we teach young children about Columbus and the Pilgrims as heros and then in highschool (sometimes) reveal the harsh truths. Some people would reply to any objections to that with: “Well, do you want us teaching first-graders about rape and genocide?” No, of course not but surely there’s some sort of happy medium. We should at least acknowledge the contradiction and try to think of ways to blunt its impact.
Well, maybe. Obedience will certainly come in more handy as an adult.
I know that it’s sort of un-PC to say that teaching obedience and conformity are good, but if you take a good hard look at it, maybe those are good things to teach kids.
A few years ago, I remember reading about the ACLU taking on a school in court to protect a girl’s right to wear green hair. Constitutional considerations aside, is this really something we should encourage? After all, once that young lady gets out in the “real world” she’s going to find herself extremely limited by her insistance on expressing herself through her green hair. No one will hire her, except maybe a tattoo shop. She may have the right to wear green hair, but the fact that it’s Constitutionally-approved won’t help her find a job.
Teaching kids to express themselves is all well and good, but it should come with the cautionary note that there is a time and place for it. Like it or not, the adult world is about conformity. A person who dresses bizarrely because they feel like it isn’t going to be respected.
The same applies to obedience. We Americans are a defiant lot, fiercely anti-class and antiauthoritarian. In some ways, this can be a good thing, but sometimes you just have to obey the boss because he’s the boss, no matter how stupid you think the order was. You have to listen to police officers even if you disagree with them.
When my boss comes in and says something needs done, I jump up to go do it. One of my co-workers bitches about the tone of voice the boss used, or that it should be Cheryl’s turn to do that since she did it last week, or why she shouldn’t have to do it because she has a bigger workload. My boss hates her, and has told me that the next time a promotion comes available, I’m moving up. No doubt, my co-worker will bitch about how it’s unfair because she’s been here longer, and might alledge agism or racism.
The anti-class thing can be troublesome in the “real world”, too. I remember a couple of years ago, a woman posted a Pit thread because she was angry that her city pool was closed. It had been rented out for a party. She insisted that this was a bad lesson for the kids, because they were learning that money could buy them special circumstances and exclusivity.
Well, yeah, it can. Equality under the law is what our Constitution guarantees. It does not guarantee social equality, which flat-out does not exist in any place in the world. However, people get up-in-arms about it, probably because they were taught from babyhood that nobody’s better than anyone else. It’s true when it comes to human worth, but in the real world, the guy who got a diploma from a better univeristy will get the job over a guy who went to Local Branch Campus, and yeah, you might lose a promotion to a person whose dad plays golf with the boss.
My point is that it does kids a disservice to pretend that these things don’t exist. Instead, we should prepare them to combat their effects. For example, encourage kids to build their own skills so that they will be a viable opponent for a job rather than just muttering about how unfair it is.
Another destructive notion that we acquire in kindergarten is that we’re “special.” I have a pet theory that this leads to a good deal of our social friction. Everyone thinks that they’re different, that the rules don’t apply to them because they have special circumstances. But we’re not special. There are 200 million Americans just like you, who have the same wants, goals and passions. Yes, your genetic code may be unique, but you’re really just part of society like everyone else. Instead of focusing on encouraging kids to think of themselves as unique individuals, I think we should focus on how each of us is part of a society, a network which requires all of us to work together.