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Will the Real Peers Please Stand Up?

By Lenora Levia
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #61, 2004.

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Humans are fantastic! I love 'em! They are the most interesting beings God created... and the funniest.

But humans are not always easy to get along with. In this article, I would like to share with you my personal experiences with my peer group since graduating from homeschool. These are merely my experiences and should not be construed as an indication of what your children will experience. But they may give you, as a parent, an insight into what your children may experience socially as they enter the trying twenties. And with that disclaimer, I take the plunge.

I entered adult society with a total lack of understanding of my own personality. (Bad idea.) I have since discovered, and embraced, that I am an introvert and a loner, balanced by a fascination with people, a dramatic flair, and a gifted person's penchant for emotional intensity, new information, and laughter.

After spending so much time during homeschool with the two dearest Baby Boomers in the world, a.k.a. Mom and Dad, entering technical college was a shock. I had no comfort level with my peers. There was a dullness in their eyes. They never laughed at my favorite prof's jokes (which truly were hilarious). They failed his tests. The college sacked him. But I digress... I graduated from college with a couple of twenty-something friends, and numerous forty-something friends. Upon entering the workforce, I instantly made friends with a Sibelius-loving, 40-something, teacher-turned-editor with a Masters degree. I also incurred the enmity of a young administrator for being bothered by her incessant chatter eight hours every day over the cubicle wall to another administrator.

At my next workplace, I found I was the "baby" of the company. Everyone else was in their forties and fifties. We spoke the same language. We could talk. I was happy.

I started attending a new singles church group. I'm a good conversationalist. Their conversations were too vacuous to give me enough material to form intelligent responses. They played co-ed tackle football. I stayed home and watched Pride and Prejudice (yes, all five hours of it!). They went camping with no chaperones. I stayed home and put on a puppet show for AWANA.

The guys in the group hardly spoke to me. Why? I went home and critically examined my hairstyle, my clothes, my grooming... everything. I asked Mom and Dad. They were fine with me. I observed how older people always reacted favorably towards me. My boss liked me. I represented his company as the Administrative Assistant at the front desk. My best friend was in her sixties.

No one in their twenties cared for me. If I were brutally honest, I'd cordially return the compliment.

Another church... a new singles group. They're older. Calm. Conversational. Caring. I like them. They like me. But I'm the youngest one. I try the singles group for my age. The guys ignore me. The girls burble and coo and throw themselves into the guys' arms. I call my older friends and plan to do Chinese tomorrow night.

I finally start studying the situation... start studying the other twenty-somethings. They're insecure. I'm pretty confident, or at least, I act like I am. They struggle to carry on a conversation. I listen, act interested, and respond. They dress like teenagers. I dress like an adult. They talk like teens. I talk like an adult. They think they still are teens. I'm a woman.

They were raised by daycare workers. I was raised by my mother and my father. Mom and Dad believed they were raising an adult, not a perpetual kid.

Most of my peers are a product of the public school. I'm a product of the calm, intellectual atmosphere of private and home schools. They watch and emulate television, R-rated movies, and rock music. I watch Frank Capra movies and listen to Hillary Hahn play Bach. They go to bars for fun... drink, smoke, whatever. I think singing in the church choir and acting in Christian plays is a blast!

Like Bunty says in Chicken Run, "I'm going with it." I'm finally learning to embrace how I am and who I am. I don't try to be comfortable with my peer group anymore. I'm giving them time to grow up. I hang out with Baby Boomers. We have lots to talk about. We have fun. That's all I need. I'm happy!

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