By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger
Special guest blogger
Considering Eric’s thorough breakdown of the characters listed at the end of the chapter according to Leary’s Interpersonal Grid, I think we can all concede he’s the gold star student for the chapter. Thus this post is the presentation after the factotum’s; alas, I will disappoint.
Last week was the end of summer school and it’ll be time for the school year before I have a chance to catch my breath. Last week it struck me that I was privy to a collection of unvarnished personalities and primal drives with much more variation than the lion house -- children on the cusp of adolescence.
Perhaps it is my personal prejudice, but I find that most of the kids seem to be overwhelmingly driven by patrist notions of pecking orders and competition while also demonstrating a desperate need for attention and acceptance, hallmarks of the Bio-survival circuit. I witnessed one child manage to work himself into a couple sullen rages a day while trying to both please and outdo a rival, blither student. This same student would alternate between defiance and a childlike need to please when dealing with instructors.
As I’ve witnessed in the past, the children neatly divided themselves largely upon the basis of male/female. Older students (13-14) were more interested in talking to the opposite sex. Interestingly, it seemed that the female students who socialized with male students were more often the ones who would say or laugh at actions I perceived as cruel. The younger female students were by far the most obedient, applying themselves to activities, the quietest and the least desiring of praise. Most of the young females were helpful and assisted other students and seemed to congregate in groups of 2 or 3 compared to the larger assembly of male students and older females. There were a couple of loners in both groups. Some of the “outsiders” seemed to prefer to interact with the adults or simply be left to their own devices. Ultimately I would say the range of behaviors I witnessed fell mostly into the COMPETITIVE-NARCISSISTIC, REBELLIOUS-DISTRUSTFUL, and COOPERATIVE-CONVENTIONAL categories on Leary’s Grid.
My “findings” last week were mostly in keeping with my prior understanding of children in this age range. Knowing some of the children’s histories adds a measure of understanding to my consideration of their words and deeds. I often try to convey the lesson that one should be kind at this age, as you will regret whatever moments of meanness you remember. Typing that out, I believe we mostly regret nastiness at any age with the addition of time and distance from the irritant. While I am an acerbic and critical person in private and online, I try my best to be kind and polite in “real” life. One never knows what someone else is dealing with. Perhaps it says something about my mask that I find being in public very tiring and tense. I’ll also drop any pretense of courtesy once someone else has breached my standard of decency. Yet, with age, my standards have generally become laxer and I am usually more interested in absenting myself from a potentially unpleasant situation than drawing it out by opening my yap.
I should probably clean my own cage before I continue observing the other apes. For those of you that keep up with the Ishtar Rising group, I’ll have the new post up today.