Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Social Graces

One of the experiences of growing up in a home with two parents is learning from parents how to interact socially. I believe the social patterns are learned by watching and interacting with parents. This learning occurs from birth through young adulthood. When a situation arises a child will observe a parent's response and often ask WHY or wait to see what happens. Through observation of behavior patterns humans learn normal acceptable phrases, responses and parameters of socially acceptable behavior. Children learn how to make friends, negotiate, trust, risk taking and self confidence. Being a child of an alcoholic mother and living in the orphanage I spent a lot of years being self conscious, made odd comments and generally lacked the ability to interact with a group of peers. When I found myself in a group of people I often felt awkward, invisible and would try to melt into my surroundings. Being recognized as a child that lived at the children's home automatically made me feel like others viewed me as someone who did not have a home with parents that loved and cared about me and therefore was pitied. I remember my fourth grade teacher and her husband coming to the orphanage one evening to pick me up so that I could participate in a square dance recital and then later took me out for ice cream. I remember it being a very enjoyable evening however, I remember defensively saying to her "You do not have to do this for me!" She smiled and looked at me and said "I know we don't, we want to". I don't remember what my response was, however I hope I told her thank you. I know I gave her fits my whole fourth grade year. She never made me feel like I was bad when I failed to do homework. I can remember one day she asked for all the students homework and I told her I had forgot it at the orphanage. She said go home and get it. I remember walking back to the orphanage and getting the homework. She instilled in me the sense of responsibility for myself and that lame excuses will not go very far. I will always remember her kindness.


Kim said...

Mom, I would have never thought that you did not know how to handle yourself. You are the one that I ask if I have a question about how to handle a situation. Your advice is usually the best thing even if it is not what I want to, or actually do.
I remembered something that my dad once said about you that I will never forget because I wish that I could be this way he said it does not matter how you are even if she(meaning you) does not like you, she has a way of making you think you are good friends. I think he was trying to prove a point about you, I don't remember that part, but I have watched you and in your dealings with people I know you did not necessarily like how you treated them just like people I know you were friends with. To this day I have never seen you treat anyone badly. I wish I could hide my feelings like that, if I do not like you Lord Help you cause you're going to know it.

Mom thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

I look forward to your next posts.
Love you

Joyce said...

I love folks like your fourth grade teacher, who expect kids to do what's right, and who show them kindness, too. <3