Social Beings

My son, Sam, wakes up every morning and asks, “who’s coming over today?”. We always have people over to our house. On a daily basis, we have at least two therapists who come to work with my son, Jack and at least one other child that I babysit. Sometimes it is a neighbor, or even a former neighbor for that matter who stops in for a quick visit. I also have friends, who live near and far, who pop in whenever they have a chance. I haven’t even mentioned any of my family members who drop in, either announced or unexpected. Some may think of these visits as impositions but we just think of it as normal life.

Growing up, my family was very social because my mother could start a conversation with anyone. When we went to the beach, which was almost daily in the summer, we would inevitably make friends with other beach-goers. At home, ur neighbors stopped over frequently for tea with my mother and of course, all the neighborhood kids would play together. We never had fancy, organized parties but we would get together with my mother’s friends on a whim.

I have always found it easy to make friends. I can talk to just about anyone. I think my kids will be able to as well. They are not shy children and when they hear a door open or a knock, they instinctively yell a cheery, “who is it?”. I think it is important to teach children, by example, how to be social member of their community. I have often thought that signing kids up for organized activities may not be the best way to teach out children socialization skills. And surprisingly, I think when kids feel comfortable around other people they also feel more comfortable being alone.

Audrey Adds:

Sharon and I are neighbors. When I visit her home, I feel instantly welcome. Her young children are shy for about 30 seconds and then they are showing me their toys and sitting on my lap to have me read a book. Usually, while I'm there, one or two other friends or neighbors or extended family will drop by. There is such a sense of ease and welcome.

I hope that lots of kids are growing up in this kind of family. It seems like a great way to show children that the world is, by and large, a friendly place and that most people are worth knowing.

Someone asked my opinion about helping children to understand and cope with events like the recent Amber Alert in our locality. I think that Sharon's family is a great model of how to innoculate your children with open friendliness towards others. We need to protect our kids from so many damaging forces, one of which is irrational fear itself.

0 Responses to "Social Beings"