Aug 4, 2008

Social Situations

Everyone knows that the 'big question' when you find out someone homeschools is the one about socialization. I could write a small thesis on the topic, but that is not the purpose of this post. I'm not afraid of the socialization factor...but that doesn't mean I still don't wonder how others might perceive our children. They're comfortable carrying on conversations with any and all age groups, but being careful to still act respectful to adults and not put themselves on equal footing while speaking with an adult. But of course, childhood is a huge learning process and some days they do better than others.

All this to say that the other night we were invited to someone's house we hadn't seen in a very long time. So, Chuck and I decided it would be in our (and the kids') best interest to take a trial run talking to a new adult. We posed as 'new people' asking the kids all kinds of questions about what they are learning in school, etc. I know my boys' tendency to say "I don't know" a little too well whenever they don't feel like thinking about something too deeply. But that little pat answer was not about to cut it with me. So, I gave them an alternate answer that was from the 'acceptable phrases allowed by mom' rule book. I instructed them (particularly Bennett) that if someone asked them a question they truly didn't know the answer to, they can respond with: "I haven't learned that yet." To me, that sounds infinitely better than "I dunno".

But then, these are my crazy kids we're talking about here. So everything is twisted once it finally reaches their brain and somehow the whole serious talk became one big joke. For instance, we're in the car driving to 'new friends' house' and the kids are asking each other questions such as "What is your name little boy? How old are you little boy?". And with each question, Bennett puts into play the new 'allowed phrase' in a highly inaccurate but hugely hilarious way. He now responds to every question posed to him with "I haven't learned that yet." It's said in the dumbest tone of voice he can muster too. We shouldn't be laughing, but we just can't help it. Our last minute tutorial is shot to pieces because Bennett found a better use for the 'allowed phrase'.

Our visit went well...without any social faux pauxs from the kids or us. All that preliminary work for nothing. At least my son never found occasion to tell them "I haven't learned that yet." I have a feeling this particular phrase is going to come back and haunt me this coming school year.
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2 comments:

Katrina said...

That is so funny! Trust kids mangle our well-meaning instructions at every opportunity...lol! Seriously, though, it sounds like they are bright and thoughtful children; I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. :)

Natalie Jost said...

That's a great story! Having just a singleton all this time it's great to see how kids play off each other. "I haven't learned that yet" is a perfect alternative though. I remember in customer service I learned to say "let me find out" instead of "I don't know" - sometimes we get so used to saying/writing things it helps to think a little more about the language we use.

Actually, on this subject, I have a book I pull out every so often that I love. It's called "Death Sentences" by Don Watson. He says something about writing that has stuck with me in speech too:

Because there is no sign the authors have thought about the words, we are not encouraged to think about what they say.

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