The Socialization Process Blanket.
The day before yesterday, as I was finishing my blog, I realized that I would have to come back and add more in the way of explanation. Thus the title and subtitle of this present writing. Fair warning: there will probably be a few more same titled articles, so follow the numbers or risk some confusion.
A blanket, on a cold winter’s night is a good, even precious commodity. It can be a life-saving cocoon of warmth, a coziness that actually allows one to sleep with contentment and utter relaxation that might not be possible otherwise. However, a heavy woolen blanket is an absurdity on a hot and humid summer evening, causing a great deal of discomfort and maybe even a nightmare or two. Have you ever awakened, tangled inside of a blanket, struggling to untangle yourself to the point of actually breaking out in a sweat that you might never get loose, your breath coming in short pants of exertion? The solution seems very simple, get rid of the blanket, or, in the first example, if its that cold out, get one and wrap it around you.
The Socialization Process that we all experience as we grow and develop into full fledged adults, and continue to live inside of, is just such a blanket. One that is woven from diverse materials, with different naps, textures and colors. Depending on ones personal perspective and circumstances, it can be thick and densely knit, or as wafer thin as a sheet of paper, and anything in between those two. But whatever its makeup, it is there and necessary. The Socialization Process is often a silent entity that exists without actually being spoken of, or directly addressed. One doesn’t speak to ones blanket, one uses it or not as one sees fit. But it does exist, and one owns it, because it does have a distinct purpose and reason for said existence.
It exists because we need rules, boundaries which allow us to feel and be safe and secure, especially as children born into a world that is both dangerous and harmful to anyone lacking knowledge of those dangers. Our parents are the primary teachers of those boundaries, set to keep us safe, and they learned those boundaries from their parents, who learned them from their parents, and so on and so on. If we lack, through circumstances, parents to do that teaching, Society must take on that role through organizations and departments created to serve just that purpose. That sounds simple enough, but all things have an underbelly fraught with different and individual realities. Each parent, of the two we are in need of to come into existence, has been taught by and learned from separate entities which might or might not agree on the importance of any single boundary within the entire spectrum of boundaries our Society, as a whole, chooses to embrace at any given moment of time.
For example: one set of parents might agree that what is most important to becoming a full-fledged adult, therefore a good citizen of Society, is education, while another might firmly be entrenched in the idea that family, and only family, is of the utmost importance in maintaining a sense of security and safety and anyone or anything outside of family is dangerous to that ideal. It can be even more complicated if each parent holds one of those two examples to be the most important of boundaries to instill in their offspring. That offspring might end up in Northern Wisconsin with only a thin sheet of paper for warmth, while another could find himself in Florida dressed in fur mitts and cap, trudging around in an overcoat and galoshes. I did say this was complicated and complex.
The point, here, being that each of us is born and develops under the weight of that blanket in whatever form it takes in our individual circumstances. And all that means is that no two of us gets an equal share of the blanket. We may own similar parts and pieces of it, even quite parallel aspects, but they are not the same because each of us is in an individual container called our own skin. Yet, conversely, each time one of us makes a move, a choice or decision to move, everyone under that blanket is affected on some level. Some in major ways, others who don’t even feel it and whose sleep isn’t even disturbed. Now there is another major reason for that blanket to be in existence. It makes us aware of our responsibility and obligation to, our actual connection with, all those other containers. At least, it should.
This is where a habit of journal keeping might find its own unique value. Do you know which of those boundaries your parents, or teachers, felt obligated to pass on to you? What was stressed as particularly important to your own development? And how was that done? Silently, by example, and if so, how much or little did you absorb? Was it done with repeated key words and phrases? If so, how do you actually feel about those words and phrases now that you are grown or almost grown? Do you agree with them, or not. If you do or don’t, why or why not? Is any of this important for the individual you are, to even begin to sort out? Do you see any value or importance in doing so?
But there is also the flip side. What other teachers have you come in contact with? What was the importance or value of what they gave you in the arena of life? How did you personally interpret any or all of that? How has it shaped and formed the individual you have become? Where, exactly are you under that blanket? Are you cold or cozy? Do you find yourself wearing galoshes even when it isn’t raining, let alone snowing outside? Or have you always been barefoot and why? Do you shrug at the very idea of that blanket as sheer unadulterated nonsense? What are the boundaries you have created to keep yourself safe and secure in this dangerous world in which we live? Are they still working for you? Or have you become tangled, fighting for a freedom that makes you pant in exertion? Do you take your safety and security as one individual for granted, and feel no need to seek out answers to any one, or all of these questions? If not from yourself and your own experience, who would you go to, to get those answers?
Next time, we might discuss what happens when someone under that blanket decides to roll over.