Every other Tuesday, Thing 4 heads to the big city for art class. She loves art class, just like she loves piano lessons and dance class. And she's very much looking forward to starting her acting classes. I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Math? Not so much. Anything related to the arts? Definitely.
Recently the S word has come up again. You know..."Don't you worry about socialization?" I don't even like the term socialization. It sounds so forced...like something we do to make people fit in. I find it negative and, frankly, kind of creepy. I suspect that what people really mean is, "Don't you worry that your children will never learn to interact with other children if you keep them locked in your house all day and they never see anyone but you and the UPS man when he makes the almost daily delivery of Amazon packages?" (I'm expecting to hear from the My Strange Addiction people any time now.)
But back to art class. When I walked in yesterday to pick up Thing 4 and her friend, it struck me that this is the way I want my children interacting with other children. On this day, my daughter was sitting in a class of 17 children of many different ages. A couple were close to her age, and most were at least 3-4 years older. It was such a diverse group of kids. I appreciate that she has kids in her class who have been at this art thing longer...kids she can look up to. I appreciate that she has the opportunity to interact with children (and adults) of many ages. The "real world" is made up of many different kinds of people of all ages from many different backgrounds. What better way to learn to relate to people in the real world than to live in the real world every day?
I stood for a bit and listened to the casual conversations going on in the room. The kids were complimenting each other's work, asking "What shade of green do you think would look good here?", talking about past paintings they had done. The teacher was easily facilitating the work going on in the room and it was obvious that the kids respected her and she them. Several of the children (who I didn't know) came up to show me their paintings and asked what I thought about their work. They were very comfortable conversing with me and seemed so mature and, dare I say, normal.
What more could I want for my daughter? Socialization? Not so much. The ability to develop real and valuable interpersonal skills and maybe a true friendship or two? Definitely.