Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Childhood Games Defining Our Current Relationship Filter

The dynamic between each couple is unique.  One partner may be dominant for a percentage of the time and the other the remaining.  We all know that couple where the woman wears the pants and has the guy by the short and curlys.  Or the abusive relationship, where the woman is uncomfortably submissive.  It’s a pleasure each day to be able to observe the differences and similarities in the interactions of people.  Online can be a skewed window, whereas watching in person people interact there are so many lessons to be learned.  I have often found myself stating that I never want to be that woman, or I would never treat my man like that especially in public.  There is a skillset that is learned from early on for interacting with people, and choosing who we have relationships with.  We have learned the ability to quickly filter and sort through millions of people in our lifetime and arguably keep about 150 on a more than just an acquaintance level.

To learn the basics we as children are socialized with other children.  So much of preschool and kindergarten is guided sharing, and playing nice, societal moulding.  As we progress to recess the boundaries get pushed further to higher energy games of tag, and red rover.  I recently had a conversation about the pros and cons of banning the aforementioned games in the school yard.  We both remember the how dangerous the games could be, but ultimately felt that these social connections learned from these simple games far outweighed the consequences.  For example, take Red Rover, you have two rows of people facing each other with hands held.  If the kid from team A runs and breaks through the arms of two kids on team B they get to take a player back to their team A.  If they don’t break through then they become part of team B.  In a very short amount of time the team has to reach a consensus and strategize the person they would like to run towards them into their arms.  There are many variations, do you want the really weak kid who won’t break through but is then a weak link on your team or do you risk the strongest player on their team not being able to break through and thereby strengthening your own team.  The other team has a choice too, they can decide which pair of people to try and run through there by trying to secure their own stronghold in dominance. 

This is a very simplified explanation, but a few really interesting things to consider.  The speed with which kids are able to make these decisions is amazing.  Kids are able to make judgements in a very short amount of time and work together as a team for a common goal.  Not only are these very snap decisions, but looking back I very rarely remember a time where one team absolutely dominated the other team consistently.  The original teams are picked with two captains who alternate their picks in a very democratic process.  Almost always the teams started fair and ended with a similar outcome.  Now imagine not having the opportunity to learn these skills at such a young age.  Imagine walking into a room without these basics and trying to pick out the person of most value to network with.  This is the new reality we are walking into, where kids are no longer allowed to play these very important socialization games on the playground, and thus when they grow up these skills will take much longer to learn. 

I am very curious to watch the power struggles of this next generation and to see where our society will take us by opting for the safety of our children over making them sound and whole human beings.  There is a price to pay for every decision, but I wonder what this will be on making those connections with a possible spouse.  Just a little blog hopefully to get you thinking about what has defined the social skills you have today and how you may have learned to filter those around you in such a necessary way.

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