Mar 26, 2008

Random Strangers

Socialization - one of those words that most homeschoolers dread to hear - not because we are afraid of it, but because most people totally and completely misuse the word.

Here is the definition that I found on the Merriam-Webster's children's site.

Main Entry: so·cial·ize
Pronunciation: s-sh-lz
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ized; -iz·ing
1 : to make social; especially : to make fit for a social environment
2 : to take part in social activities -
so·cial·i·za·tion /ssh-(-)l-z-shn/ noun - so·cial·iz·er /s-sh-l-zr/ noun

I would also like to share the definition of the word friend:

Main Entry: friend
Pronunciation: frend
Function: noun
1 : a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another
2 : a person who is not an enemy
3 : a person who aids or favors something

I know that I have blogged about this topic recently, but I really felt that I needed to revisit it because I was speaking to my father over the weekend and I found myself explaining to him (a 60 year old man) how to make friends. He moved to Florida a few years ago and has not adjust really well down there. My step-mom and him like it but they went down there with these huge expectations of having all sorts of things to do and money to do them with - the grass is greener complex is the best way to explain it. (It amazes me how many people I know that have just packed up and moved to other parts of the country with very little research on the place and expected it to change their lives! - but that is for another blog)

So Dad and his wife are now both retired and finding that they have plenty to do in their community during the winter when the "snowbirds" are there, but come about this time each year all the groups start meeting less and less frequently. Neither of them has any idea how to meet people unless they are in a "group" setting.

As I mentioned before KM has always decided who her best friend is based on who is in her class that year. However she is very good at going up to other children at playgrounds and asking if they want to play with her. This makes me wonder what would have happened if I had left her in Public School. Would she have lost that confidence? We are all programmed to only engage with people if we KNOW that there is a common thread. I understand that people get along with others generally based on common interests, but sometimes you have to dive deeper to find those common interests. I also have friends that I never thought I would have ANYTHING in common with, but somehow we seem to fill some unknown void within each other.

Homeschooled children seem to have a self-confidence that is so rooted within that nothing can really budge it. Not that I think they are invincible superheros or anything. I know that they do sometimes get their feelings hurt, but they are so much more willing to put themselves out there.

We are all put into these different categories our whole life and that is how we tend to make friends - maybe as adults we need to just walk up to random strangers and ask if they want to play with us.
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