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Kindergarten Lessons?

I’ve tried to raise my kids right, at least as I perceive “right” to be.  Sooner or later, though, all kids become exposed to other kids who have been raised with different paradigms . . . not necessarily better or worse . . . just different.  My kids got their first exposure to kids with significantly different paradigms when they went to kindergarten.  Here are some of the unintended “lessons” of their kindergarten year.

  • 1. Saying “shut up”. (We never used that term in our home.)
  • 2. Saying “samhill” (a kids’ cuss word, as in “What in the samhill are you doing?!”) (Similar to #1 above, we never used that term in our home.)
  • 3. Finding burping funny. (In our home, we didn’t find humor in bodily functions. We merely recognized them as bodily functions and apologized when they constituted rudeness, as burping frequently does in our society.)
  • 4. How to put your hand in your armpit and produce a sound akin to passing gas. (This had never been done in our home, either.)
  • 5. How to drink milk and then shoot it out your nose. (Similar to the above, this had never been done in our home.)
  • 6. How to use fake (rubber) vomit to freak out unsuspecting parents. (We aren’t practical joking parents, so this and other practical jokes were not seen in our home.)
  • 7. Eating with elbows on the dinner table. (This was a behavior that we expected children to grow out of . . . not grow out of and then back into.)
  • 8. Keeping your bedroom clean may be optional rather than mandatory. (In our home, clean bedrooms were and still are mandatory.)
  • 9. Back-talking us (the parents) and treating us like peers. (Here again, this was not behavior that was permitted in our home, nor did we even see such behaviors much.)

These and other unintended lessons from kindergarten constitute what I can only call culture shock.  It hit us when our oldest went to kindergarten, and ever since then we have worked steadfastly to reinforce the culture or paradigms of our family while still validating the right of other families to have their own culture or paradigms.  Still, overall, kindergarten has been a wonderful experience for our kids, they have learned many wonderful things, and they are richer for the diversity of experience to which they have now been exposed.   In addition to learning reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, they are learning to be adaptive to different people’s paradigms . . . and, while that may be challenging for us as parents at times, the overarching lesson is still constructive.

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