Social Question

liminal's avatar

What societal norms are important for a child to know?

Asked by liminal (7712 points ) March 17th, 2010

We home school our children (both 9). When teaching them about St. Patrick’s day we focused on St. Patrick and his relationship with Ireland. We spoke about what is perceived as negative and positive about him, geography, and some history.

We didn’t spend any energy on the color green.

I realized today that my children have no idea that some expect the wearing of green on St. Patty’s day. I have a friend who rolls their eyes at me every time they learn I have omitted certain societal norms from their education. I don’t find many of them worth much energy. Maybe I am missing something.

Are there certain societal norms that seem important to impart?

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90 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Check out Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

ArtiqueFox's avatar

Wearing green in St. Patrick’s day isn’t a life and death situation. It would be rather well, lame to make mild norms like that the focus of your lesson. However, as adults, your kids might be embarrassed when certain customs are expected of them and they have no idea what those are. Teaching the full subject, or everything involved in the subject currently, might be a wise idea. It could save your kids some awkward public moments (or humiliation) in the future.

Again though, keep your priorities straight, but don’t rule out the option of teaching some. Especially those that are related the to the smooth function and safety of society.

janbb's avatar

I would say those that are associated with cruelty are the most important to impart; not making fun of or pointing out people who are disabled or different looking and not being racist or sexist.

DominicX's avatar

You could just tell them that it’s a tradition. You don’t have to tell them that they must follow it. Knowledge of traditions is still knowledge and knowledge is power. :)

I was never told that I had wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. My parents just said “people often wear green on St. Patrick’s Day”. It was up to me whether I wanted to do it or not. I did because I found it fun and I’m wearing green right now.

Same goes for any tradition or societal norm, really. You can tell them about it, but you don’t have to tell them they need to follow it. They can make their own decisions about that.

liminal's avatar

@ArtiqueFox I will probably bring it up at dinner along with green beer.

@CyanoticWasp I like E. D. Hirsch, Jr.! I am definitely committed to my children being culturally literate and criticial.

liminal's avatar

@janbb important.

Val123's avatar

Wearing green is simply a fun thing.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, I never really question what parents want to teach their very young children. If you prefer to focus on literal meanings like who St Patrick was, maybe only the religious meaning of religious holidays, avoid stories of prince charming, the tooth fairy, and/or Santa Claus, etc, that is your prerogative. But, unless they are going to live in a community where everyone is basically raised like them, I think eventually exposing them to societal norms and traditions make sense. My preference is that they have exposure and contact with all types of people and celebrations, but I am tolerant to people who live almost exclusively in their communities like the Amish, Chassidic Jews, and others.

If they are going to live out in what I will call the real world, then best that they be exposed to the various traditions and different cultures I think. If you eventually mainstream them into high school or they go to college they will be clueless.

Why are you against teaching them about wearing green? Not that they have to wear green or should wear green, but they could know people like to dress up in green, like people dress up for Halloween. It’s kind of the same thing to me.

prolificus's avatar

It isn’t so much about following societal norms as it is about being aware of them and allowing one to choose whether or not to follow them. By not teaching your kids about certain societal norms, you’ve set them up to be seen as outsiders to the culture they will one day join as members of society. If they choose not to follow the norms, it would be their choice. Right now, they don’t have the choice.

liminal's avatar

@JLeslie It just never dawned on me. We live in a highly populated urban area and not everybody does it. The question about St. Patty’s day and beer reminded me that we didn’t talk about how people celebrate it in america. I will be mentioning it to them.

The_Idler's avatar

Wow, Paddy’s day seems much bigger in America.

In Ireland, it’s just like any other day; everyone goes out and gets fucking trashed.

liminal's avatar

@prolificus Doesn’t everybody run into that one way or another ? I haven’t yet met the person who hasn’t been perceived as a societal outsider at some point in their life.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal – yes. I’m an outsider to Jewish and Islamic and Canadian and Mexican norms. I also live in a diverse community. I’m an outsider to most non-wasp norms because I’ve neither experienced them or studied them. But, when in Rome… I’m sure there are many non-traditionally-American-raised-cultured individuals who have taken up the norms of their environment or at the very least, have become aware of them because their head is not burried in the sand.

The_Idler's avatar

That is the problem with home-schooling. Too often makes for wet, floppy, sheltered saps.

JLeslie's avatar

@liminal Well, if this is not a constant theme, that you skip over how the masses celebrate holidays, then I think you should not even think twice about. You don’t sound like you are purposefully omitting information. I am going to take a wild guess that the people who roll their eyes at you think negatively of homeschooling to begin with and have their own assumptions, probably incorrect, about you and homeschooling in general.

@The_Idler Yes, Americans kind of treat these things as a big party, St. Patrick’s day, now Cinco de Mayo, we seem to like our celebrations and many times turn them into a bigger thing than what they are in their original countries. I think it is a way we in America try to acknowledge the many groups among us.

The_Idler's avatar

@JLeslie I think it’s because you’re the biggest bastard country since Great Britain, and people need to feel some sense of cultural identification, in the land of meaningless, purposeless monetarism that is America.

It’s worse in England, our country has no purpose, but we don’t even have big parties.

liminal's avatar

@prolificus If my children were sheltered and not surrounded by diversity and peer community I probably would be worried about burying heads in the sand. If that were my goal, I probably wouldn’t have opened up the question.

@JLeslie I like to think my friend isn’t being judgmental, she is skeptical. Which is good for me and my kids. When I realized today I was leaving out shamrocks I thought of her and reminded myself to bring up the lighter things I had forgone.

galileogirl's avatar

Of course this is a problem with home schooling, to become culturally literate efficiently one needs to be exposed to society rather than being cloistered. You can’t teach everything, so much of it comes from social interaction. It is surprising that your children didn’t have questions about the green and shamrocks and the funny little men from just seeing thr store displays.

liminal's avatar

@galileogirl I agree. They have asked what they are about and I told them they were St. Patty’s day decorations. Today I realized that I have failed to mention that people also decorate themselves and drink green beer.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@The_Idler there’s certainly a lot of that meaningless, purposeless monetarism here (and everywhere else I’ve been that has much of anything), but I get the impression that you haven’t actually been here yet. Or that you have a personal issue that has nothing to do with “America”.

JLeslie's avatar

@liminal I’ll go with that. Sounds good. I don’t think any of it is a big deal, you obviously seem open to these things.

JLeslie's avatar

@The_Idler WTF?! What do you mean by bastard country, and why are you so negative about homeschooling. The OP’s question was a willingness to listen to other people opinions, I think you are being mean. It seems uncalled for.

The_Idler's avatar

@CyanoticWasp
Huh?

I have been to N America, and I was making a flippant generalization about how many N Americans yearn for some cultural identification and their attraction to their ancestry etc. which leads to exaggerated celebrations of things like paddy’s day and revival of traditions long dead within their own families.
Yeah, I’ve seen it first hand….

And then I was saying how it’s actually worse in England, because people don’t even care at all.

but, yeah… huh?

@JLeslie, I was kidding about homeschooling, and by bastard country, I mean one made up of immigrants, like the English are Celts and Saxons and Normans and Vikings, and America is even more so like that. Nothing wrong with it, unless you’re a racial purist, that is. That is what makes English and American racial purists so ridiculous.

silverfly's avatar

That societal norms are evil and should not be followed.

JLeslie's avatar

@The_Idler When it comes to St Patrick’s day I would venture to say that it is not the Irish who have turned it into what it has become, it is commercialism. Same with most of the rest of the holidays.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@The_Idler oh, pardon me. I thought you were generalizing, but obviously you know all about us. Never mind, then.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@The_Idler What do “wet, floppy, sheltered saps” mean exactly? And what do public schools make? And how much do you actually know about homeschooling?

The_Idler's avatar

I would say commercialism does have a lot to do with it as well, but is anybody denying the N Americans’ unique interest in their ancestry?

It is because you are such a diverse blend of cultures, all bound together by commercialism, which dilutes it all. This is a bastardized culture, and this is why N Americans get so interested in the culture of their ancestors. Or don’t they?

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yeah I probably shouldn’t have said that, I will say again that I was taking the piss.

DominicX's avatar

@The_Idler

Is there anything wrong with a blend of cultures?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think each parent imparts what they think is important for the kids to survive. Some people think that means teaching about fitting in, some people think it’s about teaching how not to fit in, others think it’s about giving a choice. Each answer is for that parent alone (or parenting unit). I believe it’s important to answer their question, to explain societal norms as they come up and give it a proper value – which is, to say, not much.
@The_Idler…as you were writing this? something you learned in school?

The_Idler's avatar

@DominicX Like I said up there, not unless you are a racial purist. That is what makes English and American racial purists so ridiculous.

Val123's avatar

@The_Idler You mean, because we tend to label ourselves as SomeOtherNation-American? Like African-American, etc.? The problem with America is it is so young. We don’t have hundreds and hundreds of years of history and culture behind us, and I kinda wish we did.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Val123 depends on the history – wouldn’t want to be have centuries of slavery behind us

The_Idler's avatar

I think people got offended by the word “bastard”.

I will say now I am 100% mongrel breed, a heinz 57 of race. I just meant it objectively, it is what we are.

Same reason I am so interested in Indian culture, because my great-grandma was Indian.

This is really prevalent in N America, because as a society, it is one big mix-up.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do think it’s important to teach your kids that society is set in certain ways so that they blend in, when necessary, for safety. You have to teach them that many consider religion important, important enough to fight over, that many consider their ‘manhood’ or ‘femininity’ a no-brainer, something to get insulted over, that others think it’s perfectly okay for a woman to be less than a man and that you can’t reason with them. You have to talk about salient norms, but you don’t have to say they’re representatives of truth and that we can always change the norms.

The_Idler's avatar

I reckon religion is really the important one. Especially in places like UK and USA.
People can be really insecure about it, as well as being easily offended.
In the UK at the moment, it seems like there is almost the assumption of being offensive, to talk of someone’s religion without the respect you would afford to, say, your grandmother.

Probably race in the USA as well, what with it being such a recent issue.

Val123's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir But we do have several centuries of slavery behind us. As negative a thing as that is, it is a “common ground” for today’s Black Americans. Most Blacks have more generations existent in the American than almost any other people and they have a long, long history that most American’s don’t have. There is an entire subculture that came from that horrible practice, a subculture that most American’s don’t have. I’m only a 2nd generation American myself. (This is kind of a tricky thing to say.)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@The_Idler I didn’t object to “bastard”; I’m actually pretty close to being one, literally. No, I mostly objected to the generalized slur that we’re all about meaningless, purposeless monetarism. Some of us have no money at all, so we’re just plain meaningless and purposeless. That was my objection.

JLeslie's avatar

@The_Idler I think some of our interest with where we came from is that many times our ancestors suffered to get here. We find pride in our ethnic and culture backgrounds that we brought with us. We also are raised with the phrase, “America is a melting pot.” Canada actually does it MORE than America I think. They work harder at acknowledging everyone it seems to me.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I disagree. It seems even grandchildren and great grand children of slaves want to know their history, what their people went through, and the triumph of still being here and overcoming. They also seem to yearn to know where from Africa their families might have come from. Did you see that new show Who Do You Think You Are? Celebreties trace their family trees back. Emmit something or other, black football player I think, I might have the wrong sport, wanted to know, flew to Africa during his journey only to find that his ancestors were sold into American slavery from a specific area in Africa, can’t remember the country, that still to this day traffics slaves.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Val123 I don’t want to assume you think this is somehow a good thing or anything to be thankful for so I’m going to let it go. Many blacks in America don’t bond over their roots in slavery, many can’t even trace their roots to any slavery, specifically. We have a culture here in America, a culture of taking land over.
@JLeslie – oh certainly they want to know the history but this doesn’t bond them to other black people in any effective (against racism) manner – no one in this country gets a detailed look at race relations (no matter their own race) and a trip to a museum doesn’t a rick background make.

The_Idler's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I wasn’t talking about the people, I was talking about the modern society, and the disagreement between the two being the primary cause of this observed tendancy.

@JLeslie Perhaps that has influenced my interpretation then, most of my direct experience of N America has been of Canada.

Val123's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That’s why I said it was a tricky thing to say.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Val123 anyway, it’s a good topic, just off topic here – maybe we can discuss it elsewhere

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Interesting. Among us Jews we feel a bond of being the ones people want to enslave and kill throughout history. There are other bonds, but being hated is a bond for us.

@The_Idler Yeah, Canadians are very inclusive.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie That can’t possibly apply to all the many different Jews there are and I am still sticking to my answer that, although it’s a bond, it’s not one I want to replicate for people

liminal's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I like this and I think we are getting this done in our house:

I do think it’s important to teach your kids that society is set in certain ways so that they blend in, when necessary, for safety. You have to teach them that many consider religion important, important enough to fight over, that many consider their ‘manhood’ or ‘femininity’ a no-brainer, something to get insulted over, that others think it’s perfectly okay for a woman to be less than a man and that you can’t reason with them. You have to talk about salient norms, but you don’t have to say they’re representatives of truth and that we can always change the norms.

@all thanks for the interesting side discussion, sincerely. I am not saying much because I am more into my question at the moment :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@liminal heh, thanks…but really I think, knowing you, your kids will have no problem growing up to be knowledgeable and humane

Val123's avatar

@liminal I’ve been thinking about this question…I don’t know you, but it sounds like you’ve got a good, intelligent grip on what teaching is really about. The only people I ever knew that home schooled…well, their idea of teaching was to stick a work book in front of the kid, then go talk on the phone all day. As a teacher, that pist me off! But….just curious….do you allow for fun, just silly fun stuff in your curriculum? For example, like, spending St. Patties day making “green” food, milk, pancakes, whatever, just for fun?

liminal's avatar

@Val123 We do. We try to integrate practical, but fun, things into our lessons. We just finished a walk where we played “I spy” around green things. We use baking, all sorts of hand work, and art in what we do.

I admire teachers so much. I appreciate the hard work a skilled teacher does and feel sad at what I perceive to be a hinderance of red tape and regulations (dare I say standardizing) that keeps them from doing what they know best. You just moved up to the top of the list of people I want answering my parenting and educating questions!

YARNLADY's avatar

@galileogirl With proper guidance and curriculum, homeschooling is not about sheltering or being cloistered. Home school families can assure that their children are exposed to every bit as much of society as institutionally schooled children.

I was tormented by bullies throughout my entire 12 years of institutional schooling, which is partly responsible for my social ineptness to this very day. If that’s what home school protects children from, then it is all good.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal -

I think it is great you are choosing ways of being that fit you and your family by not practicing certain cultural norms and common traditions!

I wonder, though, if by not practicing or being exposed to the cultural norms, if your kids will be missing some common knowledge that might affect them as adults.

If you don’t mind me saying.. I think it might be good to at least have a lesson on cultural norms.. For example, if you don’t celebrate traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, what would it be like to have a lesson on it and have a replica dinner on a day that is not Thanksgiving so that the kids can see what it looks like. This way you honor what you are wanting your family to be, and you are able to teach the kids cultural norms so that one day they will have this experience in their background knowledge. They could say one day… “We loved the way our family did xyz..” and at the same time, have some level of experiential common knowledge to share with their peers. I think it might actually empower them to make similar choices as the ones you are making now… Because they will see they actually have an option. This is just my thought on the matter.

As a side note…  If you were really honoring tradition, it would be blue and not green for st patty’s day. Even the “social normatives” have it wrong!

liminal's avatar

@prolificus I like your thoughts. We do pay attention to cultural norms. We did observe that St. Patt’s day exists after all. I simply forgot about the practice of wearing green. If there was a plethora of child related parties going on it probably would have risen to my attention. Yet, at least in this area, parties are more about debauchery.

We don’t shun doing things in traditional ways on holidays. We do traditional holiday things all the time. Yet, we are not tied to practicing certain traditions and sometimes make other choices. We don’t point out that one thing is traditional and one isn’t because we don’t want to idealize tradition in the context of holidays. When it comes to holidays we want to affirm the idea that traditionally people do different things and, sometimes, nothing at all.

I will look into the blue not green thing for next year. Thanks for the link.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal – thanks for clarifying. You make valid points! They are prompting me to re-evaluate some of mine!

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir All the different Jews? True there are Ashkenazi and Sephardic, but we are only just over 14 million in world, a mini small group. Part of the reason we feel bonded is because others see us as all the same. Jews who are not religious at all, who are atheists, who never did a religious thing in their life identify as being Jewish (that pretty much describes me) because they/we understand that even if we told Hitler, “b b b but I am not Jewish, I don’t practice Judaism.” He would not give a crap. Born a Jew you are a Jew. And that is true for all of the other antisemites out there, and might even describe a lot of people who aren’t hateful.

Our history, the Jewish history, bonds us together as a group. I did not have any relatives die in the holocaust, but I feel the pain of those Jews who died, I identify with them, I have a bond with them. My family most likely suffered through the Pogroms, not that long ago in history. People in modern day focus on the Holocaust, but antisemitism in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and more was horrific in the late 1800’s early 1900’s (think Fiddler on the Roof, JK, trying to add some levaty). It is not like we had thousands of years of peace, and then one bad guy came along and killed a bunch of us. Antisemitism is relentless around the world over and over again.

Or, maybe I misunderstood what you meant by all of the many different Jews. Of course I cannot speak for all Jews. I am not trying to be argumentative, just telling you my perspective.

Seek's avatar

Huh. I was going to say that @The_Idler was right on.

I know I personally go absolutely mad over Paddy’s Day and for that matter the whole wheel of the Celtic year. Not with green beer and shamrock-bobble-ears or whatever, but I do make a point to cook from my 100 year old Irish cookbook, drink a fair amount of Guinness, and renew my vows to visit my family’s land of origin as soon as I can.

Not being a religious person, I don’t want to be entirely left out of celebrations, so I focus on cultural celebrations of Ireland, even if they’re obsolete and only really followed by neo-pagans.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie I am not arguing with you, whatsoever – I guess what I was saying is that you can’t speak for all Jews and I really never heard any of my Jewish friends (of which in the Russian community, there are many) say that they bond with others because they feel people hate them – I don’t think many of them even relate to the ‘back in the day’ attack on the Jews…I get that this is a part of you being a Jew and probably others relate but I don’t think it has to be part and parcel of being a Jew…(besides, I hate that that’s how Jews feel and the history)

liminal's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I want to see that cookbook!

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It s not at the top of our list for the bond. That I agree. We don’t dwell on it at all, but it is there. We do kind of feel different though, not sure how to explain it. It is not that I feel on the outside so to speak. Jews feel a kinship with each other. I would guess blacks do to, and Italians, and Greeks, etc.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Well, I will certainly ask this question of the next Jew I meet – can’t you totally see me doing this? I am just as deadpan IRL as I am here, lol but don’t worry they won’t be offended.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir OK, I am curious to see what they say. Let me know, I am interested also. I knew several Russian Jews who came over about 15 years ago, they lived in Aventura, FL, big community there. I never asked them that specific question, but they did allude to feeling oppressed in Russia, but then I guess everyone did, and felt aware of the antisemitism that existed in Russia. They came over when I guess the US was letting in a bunch of Jews from Russia, Jewish organizations helped them financially to come. The one woman I knew best told me that she and her mother made sure they paid back every dime, I guess a lot of people don’t, so that other people could come.

Exhausted's avatar

Wearing green on St. Patricks Day is just a “fun” thing to do. Kids in school get to “pinch” you if you forget! There are lots of little “fun” things like this that kids learn from other children in a classroom environment. All kids don’t have to have these experiences to have “fun”. Whether they learn all the little things that are fun to do, doesn’t matter, provided they are having fun in some form or fashion. It is important to learn the interesting facts about stuff, but it is also important to have fun doing so too. Don’t forget to put some fun into their learning experiences.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah some pockets of Russia are pretty anti-Jew. Swastikas are all over, too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Um, are you kidding?

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I did not realize it was that blatant even now. Good God, how depressing. Not that there is not a swastika or two here in America also. I think you are proving my point. But, I am still very interested to know how your friends think of it. Do you feel they identify as Russian-Americans or Jewish-Americans? That would be interesting also. Or, maybe they think of themselves as all three?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie They probably just think of themselves as all three.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think so too. But, I knew a Latvian guy who came here 30 years ago, and e did not consider himself Latvian at all.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal asks: What societal norms are important for a child to know?

At the very least, any child, regardless of his/her family origin, beliefs, or practices, should be aware of the common practices that exist in the country of residence.

In most public and private schools, students learn the holidays, traditions, and practices most common in the U.S. They are also exposed to cultural norms from other countries.  For example, when I took high school Spanish, I learned about the “Day of the Dead” and other Spanish holidays/customs.

Learning not only the customs from my country of residence but also from other countries allowed me to see and appreciate later as an adult the value of traditions practiced by a whole community.  It made me realize that I am part of a larger society, more than just being an individual or just part of my family.

Societal norms are a way of imparting history. They help to preserve the experiences of a community for subsequent generations to explore.

@liminal asks: Are there certain societal norms that seem important to impart?

A lot has to do with your values and the values you want your children to possess. If you don’t want your child to pick up values that you disagree with, perhaps you could simply teach the “why” behind the “what,” and leave it at that.  Case in point, you taught about the “why” of St. Patrick’s day instead of celebrating it like the locals.

The best part about teaching the “why” to any or all societal norms, is it gives kids a chance to continue or change status quo.

Deciding which specific norms to impart (as in practicing the “what”) should be totally up to you as a family.

liminal's avatar

@prolificus I agree it is important to be aware of what a given culture deems as a common practice, that is why I asked the question ;-). I think my family generally does a good job of this, except when I forget about the color green. The irony of my day was when we were on a walk tonight and I asked “Does anybody know a color that is often associated with St. Patrick’s day?” and my daughter instantly chimed in with “green”! That’s funny

I also agree that it is best left to each individual family to decide which societal norms are best honored. In our family that usually means noticing various perspectives and focusing on how we want to be as a family. Recently we stopped to help a hurt person on the street. My son noticed that a police car drove by without stopping and wondered why. I said they were probably busy and he said “The other people weren’t.” This led into a very interesting discussion on why some people may stop to help a neighbor and why others may not. As a family we decided to focus on the helping norm.

It is interesting to me how some families, including my own family of origin, never even discussed cultural literacy. Societal norms were simply assumed and often reflected personal bias rather than an integrated awareness of various views, values, and ethics.

You have put a lot of thought into my question, I appreciate it, thank you.

prolificus's avatar

@liminal wrote: “I agree it is important to be aware of what a given culture deems as a common practice, that is why I asked the question”

If you agree, then why the original question? What specifically are you wanting answered? Were you looking for confirmation of something you already agree with? Or were you wanting a different perspective? Or were you looking for the “top ten norms every child should know”?

I don’t understand your question if you already agree with the importance of cultural awareness.

prolificus's avatar

Now that I think about it.. It seems like you literally want to know what specific norms are important.

I think a more intriguing question would be… Who ultimately decides this and what is the criteria?

liminal's avatar

@prolificus I do think that is an intriguing question. I hope you ask it to fluther. Considering my needs for the day my original question works for me :)

edit: I was specifically looking for answers like janbb’s. @janbb, lots of lurve your way.

I think some interesting side conversations happened too.

jazmina88's avatar

wow, so you wear green or get pinched. Learn that young.
we wear red or stupid christmas sweaters, black to funerals, brides wear white.
No white shoes til after easter.
That is also culture…not as deep…..but vital to the judging populus.

Teach them all you know, dont withhold on your kids.

liminal's avatar

@jazmina88 are there any other societal norms besides color wearing that come to your mind?

prolificus's avatar

Now that I’ve given this question a little more thought, I’d like to say specifically what societal norms are important for a child to know.

My answer is: I don’t know.

If I had direct influence on a child, I would want to pass on the norms I cherish. My list of cherished norms may differ from your list. So, I do not think there is a standard list of societal norms every child should know – except this: every child should know he/she is a member of society and needs to be an active participant in order to experience the fullness of being human. What this means specifically is up to the individual. This is the norm I would say every child should know.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Okay, based on the Q you wrote, I think the way you approached the lesson is fine, with discussion of St. Patrick and his relationship with Ireland (and England? he was English by birth, you know) and about Ireland itself (and the Catholic Church?), and the geography (presumably Irish / English relations and politics would be far beyond the scope of a lesson plan for 9-year-olds). Fine.

But it would also be appropriate, I would think, to look in a newspaper or on TV to see the symbols of St. Patrick’s day (and Ireland) that appear in commercial contexts: the shamrock, leprechauns and of course the color green. In fact, that might even be the better place to start the lesson: why are these symbols of Ireland and St. Patrick? That leads pretty naturally into the lesson about who he was and what he represents to the people there.

So… in a couple of weeks you get to do the lesson plan for “April Fool’s Day.” How do you plan to address that?

liminal's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I was thinking about starting with rocks in their oatmeal and only giving them forks to eat it with.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@liminal that’s a darn good start, but do you know why we even have “April Fools”? There is a lesson there… one that I didn’t even realize until I was an adult.

liminal's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I haven’t really thought about the lessons for the day. What are you thinking about?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The reason why people were called “April Fools” in the first place. It has to do with the introduction of a new calendar a long time ago, which made January 1 New Year’s Day… instead of April 1.

liminal's avatar

Thanks for that…it led me to this: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html, and is giving me a bit of a head start. You are moving up on my “people I want answering my parenting and education questions” list.

JLeslie's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I never heard of this. I have always wondered why New Years was not at the time of Chist’s birth or maybe a second choice would be Christ’s resurrection. But, I don’t know much about the calendars. I know we use the Gregorian calendar, but also AD or the now utilized CE has to do with the birth of Jesus, doesn’t it?

liminal's avatar

@prolificus I missed your response earlier, thanks for offering me something concrete.

I think what you have suggested holds importance.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think to a certain extent it’s just a matter of helping your kids fit in, helping them go out into the world and not feel like they are completely out of sink, completely alienated from the general culture. The should at least understand and be familiar with the “cultural norms” so that they can choose for themselves whether or not they want to participate. Sometimes it is fun to do what most people are doing and sometimes, well, it is certainly better to march to a different drummer, but I don’t necessarily think it is good for kids, and I don’t have any, so I may having no standing on this one, to go out into the world and be completely clueless as to what everyone else is doing. It is alienating I think. And no, most of these things are not of earth shattering importance, but they are part of a shared culture and I think they would benefit from at least being familiar with them. I wasn’t homeschooled but I always got the feeling that my parents had sent me out into the world without a fundamental understanding of what seemed to be common knowledge to almost everyone I encountered and it made me feel they forgot to give me the handbook, the one that everyone else got, and it made some things very difficult for me.

Seek's avatar

@CyanoticWasp

Which calendar made April the first day of the new year? I know in the old Celtic calendar, the new year was Samhain, at the end of October…

liminal's avatar

@lillycoyote Your saying this: “they forgot to give me the handbook” really hits home. I know that feeling myself. I think it is along the lines of what prolificus and others want me to hear: “No cloistering of the children.” I do think my family is good at exposing the children to life and societal living, but I am also careful not to assume I have all the bases covered.

edit: part removed because it is redundant

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr if you look on the link that @liminal posted above, it does some of the explaining. (Apparently my ‘knowledge’ about the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar is not the whole answer, either.)

lillycoyote's avatar

@liminal Don’t get me wrong. I had great parents. Better than many. They loved me and I loved them. I had difficult and complicated relationship with my mother, I don’t think that is uncommon at all for mothers and daughters, but we kind of worked things out in the end. And I absolutely adored my father, I miss him more than I can stand some days. I was not estranged from them really, but when I went off to college I couldn’t get far enough, fast enough, though they were the ones who paid for it, I was lucky. But we were distant for many years. But they never let me down, ever. And I can’t really identify or point to or pinpoint anything that they really did wrong, but like I said, and I really have no other way to describe it, I have always felt that they somehow “forgot to give me the handbook.” I don’t know how that happened and I know they didn’t mean to, but that’s the way it has always felt to me. (And, I just realized, in my previous comment that was meant to be “out of sync.”)

snowberry's avatar

I heard somewhere that St Patrick was not actually associated with green. His color was blue. Apparently someone switched the color at a later point. Not sure if this is true, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

I teach English as a second language to four adults from Yemen (Saudi Arabia). They have very little understanding of our culture, so we’ve been exploring the holidays as we go along. Personally I find Valentine’s Day to be a total bore, but to function well in this culture, my students need to at least be aware of it. I told them it’s a holiday where you can tell the people in your life you love them. It’s also not limited to people you love, because schools have valentine parties and all the children give valentines cards to all the other kids.

The next time we met, one of my married students told me he called his wife back home in Yemen, and told her it was Valentine’s Day. Then he told her he loved her. He said she cried.

As you homeschool your kids, you might look into the things that put fun into it for them, not for you. As I said, I’m not fond of the day, but I always made a point of dragging out all the glue, glitter, and construction paper because the kids had such a great time creating cards. Usually they got to attached to their cards they didn’t want to give them up, and if they wanted to give some away, I ended up buying some.

But you get the idea.

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