When I realized that my kids, a third and second grader, could not read, write, or compute basic mathematics, I took them out of public school and began homeschooling. No one seemed worried that they were growing up to be illiterate dunces, but a lot of people were very concerned that they would not be “socialized” properly or get to go to the prom. As their mother, I was more concerned about phonics than cummerbunds.
Over the years, I have found the socialization arguments . . . well . . . muddled. What exactly is socialization? And will I recognize it when I see it?
“I hate my family,” the young college student said, flipping a trendy fringe of hair out of his eyes. “But they’re paying for my college so I’ve got to go home for Thanksgiving. What a pisser.”
Wanting to be social, I tried to figure out how to respond, because being curious and interested in others is my favorite social strategy.
“Maybe you should pay for your own college?”
“Are you nuts?” he spluttered.
I thought it might be possible.
In a moment of companionable socialization, I shared with some of my classmates that college algebra was giving me hives and panic attacks.
A highly social young man offered to help. He whipped out his cell phone.
“Just put this,” he said, holding up his phone, “in your sock and then I’ll show you how to get the answers for the test by texting.”
“You’re assuming I can text,” I said.
“Are you nuts?” he said.
No! Just arthritic—and honest.
Recently, before class, I was chatting socially with a few of my young college classmates. One highly social young man (I know he was social because he NEVER stopped talking about himself) began regaling us with tales of his high school cheating years.
“Yeah, so I had the answers written on my arm, from my wrist to my juggler vein.” He laughed. “When the teacher got wise to it, I smeared the answers off, destroying the evidence.”
Everyone joined in his clever, social laughing.
“Don’t you feel bad about cheating your way through high school?” I asked.
“Are you nuts?”
When my wildly educated professors use the “F” word in class or hilariously cop to having smoked dope once, twice, or always, I realize that they’re just trying to be hip and social and one with the organism known as “the group.” I get it. I was a social creature once.
Now, I’m just nuts, because I don’t care what the group thinks about my being a drug free, sober, religious, monogamous, honest chick. It’s not social. I know. But it does allow me to sleep better at night.
Besides, I’m the one those people try to cheat off of . . . the jerks.
Linda (Eyes On Your Own Paper) Zern