Socialization by schooling?

“So, is your daughter going to school yet?”
“Why not?”
Because she isn’t even three yet.

But anyway why don’t you send her? So that she can learn to socialize and not just be alone at home?”

I’ve been asked this progression of questions so often over the Chinese New Year period that I’m now sufficiently compelled to write a blog post on it.

While the question could really be very innocently well-intentioned, I truly believe that there is a common misconception among young parents today that sending their children to preschool as early as possible will result in better and proper socialization for the little ones, without which otherwise they will not know “how to interact with other kids”.

Why, I ask, would a parent entrust the critical shaping of their child’s principles, perceptions, values and behavioural training to a complete stranger…

  • who is a mere salaried employee with no emotional attachments to the child,
  • who has never shared with the parent what their personal life guiding principles and belief system is, that they will be indirectly imparting to these parents’ children,
  • who is obligated to attend to the physical and academic needs of at least 10 other children within the confines of a three hour schooling session?

It baffles me.

For DH and myself, in the matter of training social skills, [which must derive its first principles from Biblical values], there is no question about who are the key persons to shoulder this responsibility.

Not the government.
Not the school.
Not the teachers.
Not even the church or Sunday School.
Or even the grandparents.

It’s us. Daddy and Mummy.

Because we are the biggest stakeholders in our children’s lives.
Because we are God’s chosen stewards to whom He has entrusted the caregiving of these precious souls.
Because children learn by observing the examples of those around them.
Because parents are the closest and most influential examples in their children’s lives, with the greatest amount of opportunities, situations and scenarios at hand to develop our children’s social intelligence with people from all ages and walks of life.  

And now that I’ve probably waxed long enough to compose the worth of a sermon on the matter, I think I’ll stop right here so I can go formulate a 30 second three bullet point elevator speech in preparation for the next time I get asked this question for the rest of the year.  😉


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