More on Kids and Popularity

I was so struck by Archie talking to me about being popular — in kindergarten — and commenting that Trump is popular and likely to make a lot of money that I asked friends who are grandmothers whether their grandkids were talking about these kinds of topics as well.

We all know the world has changed greatly since our kids were growing up; mine are now 40-ish. I wrote in the original blog post that I didn’t get the notion of popularity until junior high, although I’m sure Sara and Matt were aware of it before then. One of those grandmothers talked to a friend of hers, whose girls are still in school. Here’s her take:

“Hey there, talked to my girls. They both said they understood popularity around eight or nine. They said their definition for popular means that you get a lot of attention. I asked him if it was a good thing or bad thing and they said both. According to them – It is a good thing because you can feel loved. They said it could be a bad thing though because if you get a lot of attention and it’s not something you’re comfortable with then you might not like being popular. They also said that popular people tend to spread bad rumors. They said that Trump is popular because he gets a lot of attention. We talked about positive and negative attention and they agree that Trump gets both.”  

I think, after listening to all, that Archie is precocious in being aware of social constructs like popularity, but not my much. That awareness is a teaching moment, of course, for all of us who love little people and have them in our lives. My conversation with Archie gave me the chance to say that I value being a good person more than I value being popular. He listened, although he didn’t respond.

The topic hasn’t come up again. I usually leave it to him on the way home in the car to set the topic of conversation. Lots of times it’s P.E. — he loves P.E. [gym], and regales me with stories of races he runs with and against his friends. Sometimes it’s holidays coming up, especially kid-oriented ones like Halloween and Christmas. Sometimes it’s mention of friends he’s played with that day in school.

I don’t find myself moralizing about P.E. or Halloween the way I do about things like being popular. Says something about the way I experience my grandmotherly role, I suspect. 🙂

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