SummarySocial skills may be easier to acquire than most people think. Mary Anslinger points out opportunities for socialization in everyday life.
I used to think that socialization was being with kids my own age: going out to movies, playing sports, or getting together for an evening. However, now that I’m older, I realize that socialization is more than that.
Here are just a few activities I’ve found that give me important life skills, teach me virtue, help me perform good works and, most importantly to those who say we lack them, provide me with socialization skills.
1. Being with friends
Yes, I know that I just mentioned that, but part of developing my capacity to function in society is being with people my own age and laughing, talking, and interacting.
There is nothing like good friends with whom you can relax and be yourself, just having a good time. But it’s only one of the many ways to feel like you’re out in the world.
My first job was difficult. Although I had been around friends, family, and other people, I had never actually been put in the work force. But socializing wasn’t necessarily the hard part.
Finding my own way to do things was. Just as with anything you learn, you have to find a way to do it that suits your personality…because not everyone does everything the same way. I was a cashier/bagger at one of our grocery stores and I loved it for the two years I worked there. I saw family, friends, and some of our local diocesan priests, which made my day! They would always come through my line and say hello.
And it was fun to talk with people and share recipes.
3. Doing what you love.
This one was a little surprising. I needed to earn some extra money one summer, so my mom suggested that, since I love playing piano so much, I try teaching some lessons. Although I didn’t have many students, I had a few and I learned to love them.
I saw them and their parents regularly, and we talked and I taught them. Sometimes, doing what you love can be a form of socialization.
Maybe you sell crafts locally, or have an Etsy store, or maybe even just do some errands or help with the elderly, grandparents, or neighbors. You’re interacting with each person and creating another stepping stone in your path in life.
4. Doing school
Although this is exactly where people fall short when they think we have no life in the real world, the truth is that school years are filled with opportunities for socialization.
There are homeschool co-ops, parties thrown by homeschoolers, picnics with local families, and, in some cases, proms thrown by the local group of homeschoolers. I went with friends and my family to many functions, and every event provided me the time to interact with real people!
5. Going to church
My family and I have made a home in several churches throughout the years due to them closing, or merging, etc. But, aside from all this, I love my parish life!
And, although this may shock some family members, many of my socialization skills have come from regular church attendance for the past 20-odd years. I sing in the choir and go to weekly choir practice. I love singing on big feast days or just regular Sundays. I love the annual Parish Picnic or Church Social where I help in the booths.
We have a weekly bingo night, fundraisers, and, one of my favorite events, a turtle candy sale where everyone gets together in the school gym and makes turtles to sell through Christmastime.
There are obviously many different ways to have socialization while being a homeschooler. In the modern era, we tend to witness the stigma attached to schooling at home.
Although this is unfair, we can rise above it and show the world how happy, healthy, and prepared we are for what life and God will bring us. Let us stand together and shine God’s grace and light brilliantly into the world and be a witness to the Truth of Catholicism.
After all, St. Dominic Savio says,
“If I can succeed in saving only a single soul, I can be sure that my own will be saved.”