28 November 2006

Cliques....Both Sides of the Street

After hearing a lot about this issue...I just have to weigh in on it.

Having been brought up during those "turbulent" 60s, I have to admit that the young adult societal bastion, quaintly known as a "CLIQUE" has come a LONG way since my time....and that is both a good AND a bad thing. In OUR day, you had the basically TWO camps; the JOCKS...and the NOTS. Of course the jocks had the subset of young honeys such as cheerleaders hanging on their arms, so we, the NOTS basically had little in the pond to fish for, yet we did alright with the ladies, depending on your persuasive abilities.

Being in a clique back THEN was not a priority to the NOTS for many reasons. Maybe we wanted to get our butts into a good job...or college. And many of what could be called a clique today was (back then) nothing more than a very loosely knit group of people that perhaps had one or two interests in common. We didn't worry about turf wars, the latest fashion trends, or who our team was playing this week. It was more about the Vietnam War, music, passing our classes...that kind of stuff. Our clique carried a much broader range of people, and although we never all met together AS a clique, our numerous sub-cliques kept everyone up to speed around and about our school. Our sub-cliques might consist of merely THREE people, but those three would also hang out with maybe 4 others, and they would hang with 3-6 more...and so on. ike I say, it was VERY loosely knit. In fact, if it were a sweater, it would fall apart at the first wearing...lol!

Flash-Forward about 35 years....today...right here, right now. What WE used to call cliques is about AS FAR REMOVED from today's cliques as East is from West.

There are more than just the two "encampments" from our day. We STILL have the JOCKS...always will. We now have the (dependant upon geographical locale) surfers, skaters, nerds, valley girls, geeks, goths, rappers, losers, outcasts, and hackers.....and THOSE are just the YOUNG ADULTS. We also have cliques for adults such as sewing circles, bingo players, soccer moms, and scads of other "buddy-friendly" venues. Sure we had them back "in the day", but society never really assigned a nomenclature to them. Now we HAVE to have some sort of "label" to distinguish us from everyone else (OR else).

In a society that preaches to us DAILY about the caveats associated with LABELS, here we are...placing everyone into some sort of niche....where we are expected to perform "as labelled" for the scrutiny and bemusement of the masses.

What is wrong with this picture?

Granted that in many ways, a LOT of the cliques young people are getting into serve no other purpose than to be a precursor to becoming a gang member. Conversely, there are just as many that tout substantive growth in our children, such as a chess club, a choir, or the school band. And yes, THEY are considered "cliques" as well.

What becomes bothersome is the "ritualization" attached to certain cliques...the rites of passage, initiations, and the like. For many of our kids, these are no more than stages for early sexual behavior, violence against peers or adults, vandalism, and assorted other crimes, not the least of which is drug and/or alcohol abuse.

To ensure that our kids do not fall prey to many of these enticing and oft times surreptitious behaviors, parents have GOT to step up to the plate, and start monitoring WHO (exactly) their children are hanging with. Sure this peer-pressure gig is hard to deal with, but being branded an outcast by NOT getting into a (bad) clique is much more preferable than winding up being "guilty by association", and many kids have to be made aware of that aspect to being in ANY clique. If you're hanging with a BAD crowd...EXPECT to be considered just AS BAD as the worst one in the bunch....that's the way life works.

Perhaps it's time we, as adults begin to lead more by EXAMPLE...than by mere words.
The old axiom: "Don't do as I do...Do as as I say." Just doesn't seem to be cutting it any longer.

Whether we choose to believe it or not, WE (the adults) do have a stake in everyone's future...all WE have to do is start walking the walk we have talked about all these years. If kids don't see US (either parents or adults in general) as people worth emulating...WHO do YOU think they'll fall back to?

I thought you'd say that...I rest my case.


Tim Zank said...

Bob, we undoubtedly have a stake in everyone's future...it seems as though it's harder to find people to emulate these days.

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...

Granted it is harder to discern REAL role models from the posers these days.

Were I to recount those whom I have called a role model, well my list would be long indeed.

The influence of good role models for our children go way beyond dollars and sense (sic), and the ramifications of this towards our future are likewise imeasurable.

It all comes down to those values that we eschew from people that provide decent, ethical traits.

The same can be said of HEROES, as the two are relatively interchangeable.

What I wouldn't give for another LONE RANGER right about now, eh?

It would seem that our "stake" is on the "grill"...