You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Child’ tag.

Yesterday my 12-year-old told me she was giving up! Seriously, this early in life? Then she gave me her reasons. She has tried being elected for the Student Council Body in her school for the last 4 years with no success – she came close a couple of times, though. Today she realized she can’t win because she is not “popular”. I hate this concept of popular and losers that reigns in schools and, sadly, office spaces… I did not grow up in the US and had a really hard time understanding the whole idea of being popular and being a loser and I quickly noticed how those ideas are linked to bullying. So, why do schools continue to support such mentality? In the end, what popularity means is that you are mediocre – you look and act as everyone else. When you think, dress, and act differently, then you are considered “weird”, or a “loser”. Well, I rather be a loser than being “cattle” – I love everything creative, and different, and unexpected. But everyone wants acceptance and likes recognition – and popularity is the peak of being accepted – by being common and mid stream…

Gabi, my 12-year-old, is a very good kid – gets good grades, complies with the rules, is kind-hearted, stands for what is right. Yet, she goes unnoticed by the school at large. She does not have a bubbly-in-your-face-it’s-all-about-me personality – and I don’t think she likes competition. Quite honestly, there is too much competition in school today – and it is never for merit, but for popularity (again). Too much focus on the individual instead of the group – even in team sports… And now, that she is in 7th grade, she is definitely not “popular” and is losing friends, as most kids do not subscribe to what she believes as important: kindness, originality, friendship, family, help others. She told me that the kids that will win Student Council elections are the ones that are rich, wear the trendy and expensive clothes and accessories (Vera Bradley, Abercrombie, Aeropostale…  I shall create a brand to spoof the over priced purses: Vera Affordably!) – and are “popular”! (and isn’t this happening right now in our political scene? People want the bullies, the “popular” and not so much the honest leader…). It’s not about content, or what you want to carry out as a Student Council. It is about getting votes as a proof that all kids know you and, in a way, worship you… and you are accepted… Don’t get me wrong – Gabi’s teachers like her and always have kind words for and about her. Yet, they don’t encourage or promote the kids who have the right attitude and she hardly gets the awards she so much deserves and for which she longs – like the positive attitude award, kindness award, go above and beyond types of awards. She is no “loser” also – she is just slowly becoming one of those invisible kids that populate the hallways in our school system. What is wrong with that picture? A lot – no student should feel like they were numbers – everyone has potential to contribute to society – and we would like for that contribution to be a positive one, but if we neglect the good traits and character in the median student and only emphasize on popularity, how do we expect the kids who will lead our future to be confident, independent, free thinking, authentic, problem solvers, and – most importantly – to have good values?

Because we do not subscribe to the “loser-popular” idea in our house, my kids make friends and choices based on character, moral values, empathy … and they suffer when their friends have a dominant and overbearing personality tending to the  “popular” attitude.

After we talked about it, Gabi decided she was going to join forces with her friend as a team to run for the two Librarian spots available. I am very proud of her – not only for not giving up, but also for not selling herself out by the pressure of popularity.
Our schools need major reform – and I believe the reform will need to start with the social aspect of it – how to engage all the kids, how to eliminate the alienating notion of popularity and with it end bullying. But this will be subject for an entire new entry!


Blog Stats

  • 1,515 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 33 other followers