Thanks to several posts on Dana’s blog, I’m back on the issue of socialization. Again.
I’ve been giving this some thought lately in response to an article which was posted by a youth pastor from Nebraska. In his post, the Serial Youth Pastor cites lack of social skills in homeschoolers he has known as one of his arguments against homeschooling:
"Social skills usually aren’t great – again this is the norm and NOT the exception. I have witnessed this more times than I can count."
And in an article entited Homeschooling Researched, Katie Kriss writes:
"How can a parent make such a crucial decision without their child’s consent to remove them from a world that is considered to be the ‘norm’..."
How many times have you heard someone say,
"Well, I met this homeschool family, and frankly, they just weren’t normal"?
When a youth pastor says that the majority of homeschooled teens he knows lack social skills, I wonder exactly what he means by that. I wonder by what standard he has measured these kids and found them lacking? Is it a fair measure? And more importantly, is it a right measure?
In a reply to one of his commenters, the Serial Youth Pastor gives an indication of exactly how he measures the social skills of the kids in his youth group. He says, "I do think the ones that have better social skills do blend in." Blend in? With whom?
Think about the social climate of the youth culture around us. Have you sat in the food court in a shopping mall and watched teens lately? Have you watched kids at a schoolbus stop? I’ve had the "privilege" of working as a substitute teacher in our local public school. It is abundantly clear that the way for a child to "blend in" in this setting is to be disrespectful, rude, and disinterested. Is this behavior normal? Well–yes–it is normal. In today’s youth culture, it is normal. And it’s disturbing.
And here’s my point.
Kids who are not fully immersed in this culture WILL be different. They will NOT blend in. And I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I’m not concerned that people continue to raise the socialization question. I AM concerned that these people insist that the social culture of today’s youth is the standard by which all children should be measured.
Youth culture in our country is in serious trouble.
We need a lot more kids who are not "normal".