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experiences with homeschooling and socialization
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seekingmyLord wrote:
And yet you stated: "I really think people worry far too much about this issue."

Seems to me that you keep pretty close tabs on your children, particularly when you take "a leadership position in organizations they join." What you have described is really not what a "typical" parent of children in public school do. I am sure that there are other parents that do the same, but the majority do not.

I would like to add--although this always is a delicate subject--after working for years with youth within churches, that most every parent I have met believed he/she knew pretty much what was going on with his/her child at school and with friends up to the point when he/she was shocked by the realization that he/she had been blind-sided.


I do think the whole socialization issue is no more valid in home schooling than it is in Public or Private school. I do think people worry too much about it. I didn't take on the positions I did specifically to keep tabs on their socialization at all. It did so happen, to give me the opportunity to do so however.

As a child I was always being moved. I was therefore always the new kid with the strange religion, who was skinny, had an unfortunate last name and such strange habits as being a vegetarian when it was considered much more bizarre that it is now.

Did I have problems with socialization? Yes. I tended to be teased and bullied. In tenth grade I was so shy it was painful but I found a way to become more open and more social with others. My parents either didn't know or didn't care.

They were very caught up in themselves and their own little worlds. I figured it out by myself and worked on it diligently. Today no one would believe I was shy. I was never home schooled. I went to mostly public schools. I believe had I been home schooled I would have done better in a number of areas.

Therefore, due to my experiences, I was pretty aware with my kids about what was, and was not, going on socially. I was determined they would not have the red flags to wave before their peers. It was my wish to give them a "normal" childhood. In that I wanted them to start and finish school with the same people, feeling part of a community.

They have always done very well socially whether in public school or home school. Incidentally, I do think it's important to hang out with kids in their general age group but not ONLY to hang out with people who are their age and grade peers as school tends to push. Greater socialization is with all ages and types of people IMO.

At my house kids know the rules. Those were simple, treat everyone and everything with respect regardless of age or any other differences. Expect to be treated with respect as well. Therefore, many of their friends tend to behave better at my house than in their own homes. Kids like to know where the lines are drawn, it makes them feel more secure. Too many parents don't draw them at all or are too strict.

I keep a certain level of awareness of what they are up to but only step in if a situation called for it. They have a lot of freedom at my house. Kids these days are far too over scheduled and their environments are too structured leaving them little room to imagine and come up with their own games, stories and so on.

At school they are told not to talk during lunch, while standing in line, in the classroom and while waiting for a ride home. Playground time was phased out in about third grade. PE time was also not for talking but for listening to the coach. There really isn't a whole lot of time for socialization at all in such a school.

I took involved roles in the schools because it was practically required by the schools in this community. I've heard many a parent complain about what seems to be the unwritten rules demanding our involvement but I never minded. As I said, that was the only way you or your children would be seen as even nominally important to the school. Which means if you had concerns they would be discounted unless you were valuable to the school.

Yes, I have kept close tabs on my kids although that has become less and less true as they have grown and matured. It is an important loving work, being a parent in my view and it takes that kind of effort to do a good job. There is nothing wrong, and a lot right, with this sort of tab keeping IMO.

When my kids were young, boy scout scandals were rife and it was expected that an adult caregiver would be at each troop meeting for each child. That was the very least that was expected. There was no way I'd have left my son in any potential danger until I felt he had the tools to deal with it. Even then, I would not prefer to do so.

At this age, I believe teens especially, need to know their parents are there for them. I do not believe it's a good idea to let them get all of their views from their friends, media or school alone.

It seems to me a lot of parents pull away from their kids during this time, thinking they are grown and don't need them. I disagree with that. This is a critical time for the teen. They still need a lot from their parents, in terms of a sounding board and guidance as well as other roles.

I took leadership roles in organizations partly to keep an eye on the kids and the organizations, but also because the kids wanted me too and the organizations needed leadership positions filled. I'm glad I did. I learned a great deal from doing so. I do not tend to trust organizations with my kids until I know how they operate and sometimes, of course, especially not then.

Kids can always surprise you. Human beings can always surprise you. My kids know they can be quite open and honest with me about anything they like. They don't need to sneak around nor do they have the opportunity.

There are many, far too many, oblivious parents out there who, among other things, see school as a babysitting service for them. I can see them getting easily blindsided.

Yes, many people do set up an ideal view in their own minds and not know reality. It's sad. It leads to a skewed life for them and even more skewed for their kids until the kids win free of them.

I don't expect the world to conform to my needs or wishes like these people do. I'm more moderate than that. I accept the reality of what the world is, not what I want it to be. Sometimes I work to change things as well.

Then too are the ultra restrictive parents who severely limit what they kids can do. I know what that is like because I was raised that way. Around my parents I was nearly perfect in behavior because that was the best way to survive in harmony with them.

Without them I would do what I wanted in a very rebellious way. My philosophy was that they were unreasonable and did not even follow their own rules themselves.

I was determined to explore who I was and many other things. I figured what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. Sometimes, yes, they were blindsided. Then they were indeed hurt.

I believe you must allow your kids the freedom to explore when and as they are mature enough to do so. If you hold the reigns too tight they will break your hold and are likely to get away from you, then into danger.

We've been homeschooling for over four years now. There is nothing they can't discuss with me. There are very few things I wouldn't let them explore if they were curious about it. I let them hang out without me at times but I do often take a leadership position in many organizations. I'm not the sort to say, I'll sit back and let someone else do it. Or to whine that there is no club for this or that but rather to start one.

For instance, I am starting a teen book, language and art club for my daughter because she is passionate about that. I am also thinking of starting a teen tennis club for my son because he is into that. My kids would also be leaders as they almost alway are, in most groups they participate in.

I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. Human beings are not perfect. We do pretty well in this area though. I feel I do know this and not just "think" I do. I wouldn't vouch for most parents though, only the ones I know well what they practice and how it affect their kids.
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Please understand that you really have nothing to prove about the choices you have made. I am just curious about your opinions on this subject, particularly since they are not ones I commonly find among anyone who has homeschooled.

One thing that is unclear to me is what you view as a normal childhood when you stated: "It was my wish to give them a 'normal' childhood." Would homeschooling be a normal childhood?

One other thing that raised a question for me:
What would you do if your children had been teased as you had been?
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My pleasure.

I know that I don't have to prove anything to anybody particularly not to people I don't know on a board like this. I just enjoy good conversations in which we can see one another's view and maybe therefore, open our minds a bit.

When I was into the kids having the "normal" childhood I did not have, no, home schooling wasn't part of the idea. That's why my kids were originally in a rather privileged public school with an excellent reputation.

In fact, I never considered home schooling at all until around third grade when some of the parents of my daughter's friends started talking about taking their child out of school for fourth grade. They felt fourth grade was a "repeat" grade.

I was somewhat fascinated that this woman felt that she had not given her daughter enough attention because her sons had more trouble in school. So, in part, this was her chance to give that to the child. I did not consider home schooling then at all.

If someone brought it up I would ignorantly trot out the socialization issue. My girl LOVED school and was very social at that time. She would cry when there was a school vacation because she missed school so much. LOL.

My kids two years later, rejected the "normal" childhood I wanted for them. They began to beg me to home school them. It was a real blow to me. I learned to deal with it. I want my kids happy. They are now. This was the best decision I ever made even though it was off the beaten path of the journey I had envisioned for them.

The other components of a "normal" childhood include but are not limited to, not be moved around every year or mid year, not to be raised with extreme beliefs that you feel you MUST make others aware of, to fit in with others in your peer group, to know most everyone in your community and they you. Those I, and they, did accomplish for the most part.

If my kids had been picked on, I would have helped them with coping tools to deal with it on their own. If it was bad enough or the kids couldn't deal with it, I would go to the school authorities to help. If that didn't work I would keep plugging away with ways to change the situation for the better.
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, like most of the homeschooling parents I know, my husband and I had our own experiences with public schools, which differed so greatly that all I can say is that there are no norms with being educated or socialized in public schools. They were not standardized then and they are not any more standardized now.

How fair is it that some children go to schools where there is always a threat of violence and others go the "good schools." How fair is it that one high school offers five different languages and another offers only two. Let's not even get into extra-curricular activities!

Have you considered, at least in part, that you may not see the socialization issue most homeschoolers have against public schools because your children were in a "rather privileged public school with an excellent reputation?"

Also, I find it quite interesting that your children had all these advantages and yet asked you to homeschool them. Why did they do that?


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lisalinnay
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been following along as StellarStory and SeekingMyLord have been posting, and it's been very interesting. It leads me to interject my experience and observation.

I grew up a public school child with very little parental emotional involvement, and I ended up a mess. It wasn't until my wonderful husband forced me to take a hard look at what my life had been and face the truth about myself and the people who had been in my life and to realize what's truly important, who is a true friend and who isn't, etc. etc. As I grew up, I tried to please everyone and fit in with everyone. I learned that was totally wrong and that nurturing a few true friendships is highly more valuable than being involved in so much and so many. One true friendship is a million times more valuable than a dozen or 12 dozen shallow ones.

Public school is not a good social situation in any way. It lacks guidance, and in today's public schools children think, say, and do pretty much as they please - regardless of how damaging it can be. Teachers do not take any kind of active role, and most parents don't either. Most are too involved with work and their own social lives. There are exceptions, but far too many don't take time for their kids, and if your kids are in public school, you need to be heavily involved with them.

We have always homeschooled and been selective about our children's social situations. We have taught our children respect for others, courtesy and politeness, and to think of others. We have focused on teaching our children that right (God's rules) is right and wrong is wrong, and they must choose right.

I would like to point out that far too many people worry too much about socialization. So many people tend to just repeat what they've heard that "kids need to socialize" without really thinking about it and seeing the truth about it.

Our neighbor, an 80 year old lady, would always comment to me that my son should be in public school so he could socialize more. Yet in witnessing the neighborhood children at play, she would often point out and complain about the other children (who were in PS) and how mean, naughty, and problematic they were. Then she would comment on how nice, well behaved, and polite my son was. It was plain to see that the other children would instigate every argument and attempt to bully and be selfish, or cheat at games. My son usually was the problem solver and worked toward having fun and being fair.

My own dad used to say that my kids didn't socialize enough. "Shouldn't they be in public school so they could be around other kids their age everyday." Yet he would always comment on how wonderful and nice my children are. How well they get along, how polite and considerate they are, and how well they communicate. Then he would tell me about what an awful mess my brother's kids are and how unruly and rotten they are. How mean they are to each other, etc. They're in public school. Only very recently has my dad begun to open his eyes and realize that we have been right to HS our kids.

Socialization isn't as important as so many people make it. Kids do need to have fun and interact with other children, but it requires careful supervision so wrong behaviors and interactions can be properly dealt with and right behaviors taught. A child thrust into an environment with numerous other children day after day isn't capable of developing proper social skills (I'm talking about what's really important - not what's socially acceptable so kids can fit in) without close supervision. This can much more effectively be learned in one on one and small group situations with parental supervision.

Much more important than learning to get along in an environment with hundreds of children is developing life-long communication skills, respect, politeness, learning right from wrong and developing the strength to always choose and do what's right whether it's "socially acceptable" or not. That's what's important.
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you, lisalinnay. I see major differences in most of the children who are in public school compared to the homeschooled children and it is not for lack of homeschooled children having real behavior problems--we have a few in our group.

As to being concerned about socialization for homeschoolers,...in general, I agree that people who don't homeschool make too much of the socialization issue for homeschoolers. On the other hand, I have been reading some forums where some homeschoolers did feel that they were not given enough opportunity to socialize as children and that they lacked social skills. A few have even stated that they would never homeschool their own children. I don't know what their parents did or did not do--for all I know they could be living in a remote area to begin with like a montain in Montana, or on the tundra in Alaska, or in Death Valley. But, I do know that these now grown children blame homeschooling for their lack of skills. So, I do believe there is some validity to the concern for lack of socialization for homeschoolers in some situations, but these are typically the exception to the rule, as I see it.

On the other hand, I do think the public school socialization issues that homeschoolers find repulsive are quite valid in most situations with a few expections.

As to this thread, I guess what I am trying to understand is why a parent, who is homeschooling, does not see this same significant difference--or maybe I am misunderstanding StellarStory posts...?

(BTW, did anyone noticed that our OP seems to have been a drive-by? Rolling Eyes )
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excuse me but in "good" schools there is also always the threat of violence. Fairness is not what the world is about, though we might wish it were so. How many times have you told your kids, no life isn't fair, when they complained?

I started planning for my first child's education well before she was even born. I took the time and trouble to position ourselves in a "good" school system even though we are not by any means rich. it took me three years to find a house we could afford in the district I wanted to be in. We mostly live off of one income. I bought clothes mostly at second hand places. I hate money waste, it sickens me.

I also positioned us to a school system that not only was considered above average for our area but also had the most diversity in terms of income and ethic background. I wanted the kids to get to know all sorts of people. I didn't want them to grow up with mostly spoiled brat snobs.

Why do I feel like I'm being attacked her. How you do know what "most" home schoolers see as socialization issues in public schools? What are your sources. For that matter what are the issues you are talking about? You've not detailed them.

You should be aware that all schools even the above average ones are about, not education, not what is best for the kids, but self perpetuation. No school is perfect because they are government institutions and because they are run by flawed human beings who tend to be highly stressed.

My son always hated school. That particular year he had a teacher so cruel that even my, "we need to be tougher on the kids", husband was outraged at his behavior during lunch at school one day.

My daughter found the transition from grade to middle school difficult due to the pervasive hostile atmosphere of the teachers and students to one another. I think her final straw was when a girl her age was raped on campus by a boy two grades higher.

How the schools handled these situations only made things worse and/or was very "head in the sand sort" of behaviors.

My girl went from loving school to hating it in less than a month.

They had seen some of their friends being home schooled. They felt I already taught them more at home than they learned at school in any given day. I was doing supplemental work with my son and daughter in any areas I felt the school was lax or the kids were lax in.

I'm not the sort of parent to ignore seeing my kids profoundly unhappy and stressed to the point of illness.

Most of my son's and daughter's friends have opted out of these great schools the higher up they've gone in education by moving, going to a private or magnate school or home schooling.

I go into underprivileged school in my profession. I know there are problems there. I see them. However those kids are also some of the sweetest most appreciative audiences and students I have. I treasure them.

I'm tired of feeling attacked in this thread. I don't understand where the hostility is coming from. I've not told anyone they are wrong. I've only related what my experiences and observations are. I've never said this is true for everyone nor thought it was.

I honestly don't understand what you are so upset about. It sounds like you are saying there are socialization problems in both public schools and home schooling. You've not detailed what they are.

Now you are saying they are different socialization problems. You've not detailed the differences either.

I'd say sure there may be different situations that present themselves in different settings but the basic issues of how one goes about socializing is the same set of skills that individuals need to be taught.

I'd also say that some kids will have a natural aptitude and some will not. Like anything else taught, pushing will likely only result in an eventual backlash if the student is not ready or mature enough to use those basics in social situations. All you can do is offer them the tools and wait for them to use them.

It's my experience that even if a child is not helped along socially by the parents and is in fact, hindered they will eventually figure it out for themselves as I did. However some people are socially inept for life. I've seen a very few that are, most were public schooled.

I agree, lisalinnay, that a few good friendships are better overall than a great many more shallow ones. I do think one should try to fit in, to a certain extent so you don't stand out like a sore thumb because I've been that thumb and learned how to fit in. OTOH, no way should that mean you compromise yourself and what you think is right or wrong.

The social situation in public schools is to my eye extremely stunted because it's discouraged in almost all ways except being competitive with one another on every level and discounting anyone different, older or younger than your grade level. It breeds aggression and hostility.

It was so wonderful to be able to cut back on all that within a month of home schooling. I'd never allowed my kids to indulge in much of it at home but even so, some of that bleed into their attitudes. I will say my kids have always tended to look out for the other kids that were lonely or shunned and reach out the them in public school. They were also really good judges of character. I was rarely displeased with the kids they brought home.

Sometimes they've brought in really troubled kids. I've had to show them how important it is to protect their own hearts. They have to not be dragged down by those but to help pull those kids up if they will allow it.

"Much more important than learning to get along in an environment with hundreds of children is developing life-long communication skills, respect, politeness, learning right from wrong and developing the strength to always choose and do what's right whether it's "socially acceptable" or not. That's what's important."

I so agree with your statement above too!

As I've said before, I do think people worry too much about socialization and as you said, just repeat it without really thinking about it. When I had kids in public school and had not researched home school I was one of those people. Now I know better.

seekingmyLord, I think you probably have misunderstood my position and thoughts in some ways, hopefully this post will help with that. My opinions are based on my experiences and observations only. They are not meant to tell others that they are wrong or should feel exactly the same way ever.

BTW, original posters are often "drive bys" or just so busy they can't come back for a while.
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My questions were from my curiosity. I apologize if they seemed to be offensive. I was only interested in your opinions, because they are quite different from ones I have heard from the homeschoolers I have known and you seemed willing to share your thoughts.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seekingmyLord wrote:
My questions were from my curiosity. I apologize if they seemed to be offensive. I was only interested in your opinions, because they are quite different from ones I have heard from the homeschoolers I have known and you seemed willing to share your thoughts.


Your questions weren't offensive to me but I thought perhaps my answers were to you.

I am willing to share my thoughts almost always!

*smiles*
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Group hug!
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lisalinnay
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

StellarStory wrote:
I do think one should try to fit in, to a certain extent so you don't stand out like a sore thumb because I've been that thumb and learned how to fit in. OTOH, no way should that mean you compromise yourself and what you think is right or wrong.

The moment we "try to fit in" we are already compromising ourselves and what is right or wrong. If we adjust from our true self to try to fit in, then we deviate from our true self and become a lie. What is a lie? It's wrong. Deviation from our true self to any extent/degree is a lie, and a lie is wrong no degrees about it. Any person or group who expects another to lie and be something they're not isn't worth it. Who cares if you stand out like a sore thumb?! Right is right and wrong is wrong. That's the plain and simple truth.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lisalinnay wrote:
StellarStory wrote:
I do think one should try to fit in, to a certain extent so you don't stand out like a sore thumb because I've been that thumb and learned how to fit in. OTOH, no way should that mean you compromise yourself and what you think is right or wrong.

The moment we "try to fit in" we are already compromising ourselves and what is right or wrong. If we adjust from our true self to try to fit in, then we deviate from our true self and become a lie. What is a lie? It's wrong. Deviation from our true self to any extent/degree is a lie, and a lie is wrong no degrees about it. Any person or group who expects another to lie and be something they're not isn't worth it. Who cares if you stand out like a sore thumb?! Right is right and wrong is wrong. That's the plain and simple truth.


I'm sorry, I don't entirely agree with that.

Part of good socialization is putting aside enough of what you think might be you and fitting in to a certain extent, being the leader and setting the standards everyone else follows or a bit of both.

People who won't try to fit in at all go too far IMO. You can get lost in your own skewed ideas of what you are and what is right and wrong are if you don't fit in enough to listen and understand others POV.

Also, it's good and healthy to try out different roles, aspects of yourself and other ideas.

You can do all that without compromising what you think is right.

Sticking out like a sore thumb hurts, so I care do about that. I've learned much more by changing enough to fit in, lead at times, to listen to others, look at different views and learn. I'm much happier this way than I was before.

*joins in group hug*

I love hugs!

Thanks Theodore!
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

StellarStory, after reading all the things you have shared, I do understand the importance you place on feeling accepted by others and giving that gift to your children.

At some point, while I was still a teenager, I realized that most people had been friends with me, because it benefited them. I don't mean to say that I think I am anything special, but that is why all people are friends with other people. Something about the friendship fulfills some need or desire they have. Something like what you described with the public school your children were in. You became valuable to the school.

I believe I am valuable to others with what comes naturally for me (and when I feel led by my Lord, even when it does not come so naturally), but I don't feel the need to "fit in" or compromise myself to be of value to others and I certainly would never expect anyone else to compromise to be a friend to me. Does that make any sense?

As I see it, the things people value most about another person are the things that "stick out like a sore thumb" or shine out--whichever works for you.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you are saying. I just disagree that what people value about a person is what makes them stick out like a sore thumb. That is actually how people discount you and/or degrade you if the first thing they know about you is that you are weird.

I disagree that fitting in must also compromise ones values. That is simply not true for me though it maybe for some. Being inflexible is not a positive trait for anyone I know.

I do agree that everyone gets involved with someone because it benefits them in some way. The more negative view would be, "I'm being used. They want something from me." I prefer to see it as we all enhance or detract from each other in life. That's why we have relationships. I choose the ones that life me up. I like doing that for others.
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lisalinnay
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seekingmyLord wrote:
StellarStory, after reading all the things you have shared, I do understand the importance you place on feeling accepted by others and giving that gift to your children.

At some point, while I was still a teenager, I realized that most people had been friends with me, because it benefited them. I don't mean to say that I think I am anything special, but that is why all people are friends with other people. Something about the friendship fulfills some need or desire they have. Something like what you described with the public school your children were in. You became valuable to the school.

I believe I am valuable to others with what comes naturally for me (and when I feel led by my Lord, even when it does not come so naturally), but I don't feel the need to "fit in" or compromise myself to be of value to others and I certainly would never expect anyone else to compromise to be a friend to me. Does that make any sense?

As I see it, the things people value most about another person are the things that "stick out like a sore thumb" or shine out--whichever works for you.


Well said. Very Happy
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