Social Relativity Explained
As you may know, I teach kids drawing and cartooning a lot. And as I am teaching, I also get to have one big flashback to the social dynamics of, say, fourth-grade girls. Or second-grade boys. The stuff that gets said across the table as the pens are getting thrown back and forth and kids are becoming best friends and then not friends and then friends again is truly head-spinning. But it's simply amazing to me how much of it is exactly like what I experienced at their age. There's the ringleader who is kind of mean to the semi-outcast kid, who just keeps coming back for more abuse because she just wants friends and doesn't know how else to get them. There's the friend-of-the-ringleader, who is more compassionate and is nice to the semi-outcast when the ringleader isn't looking. There's the kid who copies his friend's drawings, because he likes them, not because he's stealing ideas, but this is Not Okay and the subject of much discussion and yelling. There are scribbled notes passed, tears shed, unflattering drawings made. And it occurs to me that each of these kids has an identity that is totally a function of the other kids. They are like a little ecosystem, a food chain maybe. They are figuring out who is predators and who is prey. For the moment. Then they can go back to drawing various inappropriate body parts on their pictures so I can look sheepish when their parents pick them up.
Posted by Betsy Streeter