The 4 agents of socialization are family, peers, mass media and education. By far for myself family is the important aspect of socialization. I have always been the type of person that goes out or stays home and spends time with my mom, dad, and brother. We are always doing things together even though I and 26 and my brother is 19. We go to church together and eat out together. I spend time with them even though I work and have a great girlfriend and a busy life. I am always being taught something from my family.
I have been with them from Day 1 since I was born. I was completely dependent on them when | was little. I was taught to walk, to talk, to read and to write. They were the first people I came in contact with. They were responsible to shaping and molding me and teaching me what is right and wrong. They taught me values and respect. In Essentials of Sociology, Henslin says “our experiences in the family are so intense that their influence is lifelong”. He also goes on to explain that “we receive our basic sense of self, ideas about who we are”.
Our family connection is so strong that it determines what kind of individual we turn out to be when we get older. Being born and raised on James Island, SC all my life | was taught as most southerners are taught, was to respect my elders. That meant for me that I should respect anyone older than me. I say yes mam, yes sir, hold the door open and let older people in before I would go in. I have taught to help my neighbors when they need it. Just last month I helped an older women carry a heavy chest down a flight of stairs to her car. I also helped a women bring her groceries out of her car and into the house.
In both cases when they asked I didn’t even think twice when they asked me to help them because I was raised that when someone older than you needs help, you help them no matter what. Now each time I helped them l had things in my hands that I had to put down in order to help them. As a young man growing up in the south I know it is the right thing to do. They also taught me the value in going to church. My father is a Catholic while my mother is Baptist. So when I was younger we would rotate each week going to the Baptist church and the Catholic Church.
I realized it did not matter what church you would go to or what denomination you are just as long as you go to church. The next two agents of socialization are education and Peers. These two go together like peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can’t have one without the other or you will be left with a bad taste in your mouth. We start school at such a young age like Pre Kand Kindergarten at ages 4 and 5. We learn a lot from our family but we are in school for 8 hours a day so we learn even more from what we are taught. I learned math, science, English and foreign language.
I was also taught more about my basic values like honesty and respect. I went to a private school on James Island all the way up through 8th grade. My classes were very small and I had about 12 kids in my class so my one on one time with the teacher was greater than if I went to a public school. This was great when I was learning and but not so good when I was misbehaving. I remember my teacher catching me every time I would do something wrong. I brought a golf ball to school in middle school and I was bouncing it in the hallway and I ended up breaking a window.
And wouldn’t you know it, a teacher was right there and caught me. Even though I got in trouble, I learned right and wrong. This taught me that in order to get along with the teachers, I had to conform to their rules and regulations that they set up. Now in high school I went to Bishop England and then I later transferred over to James Island High School. I was sheltered, going from a class of 12 to a class of 25 to 30 kids where there was less one on one time with the teacher and more of “learn it on your own”.
I really believe that for myself it would have been better if I would have been exposed to a bigger class earlier in life. That hurt me when I went to high school. It was a struggle for a little while but once I got comfortable with the people around me, I was able to adapt and overcome. That brings up my next point of how important peers are in a socialization cycle. Peers as defined by Macionis in “Society, the basics” are “members who have interests, social position, and age in common” (2015). My first experience with my peers came when I started school.
I learned a lot from them by the way they were acting. I watched them and studied them. I would ask them questions and they would ask me questions too. We would mold ourselves to be like each other. I wanted to be like my friends. I wanted to wear the same cloths they wore and wear the same shoes they had. I had to be just like them because they were “cool”. Mainly my peer group had a positive impact on my life, but they also had a negative effect. In my high school years my peers started smoking cigarettes and smoking weed. My first thought was that since they were doing it, it was the “cool” thing to do.
Since I was raised in the correct way by my family my values and “that little voice in my head” said it was a bad idea, so I never even tried one. Which now is a good thing because I see now that smoking causes cancer and smoking weed does nothing good for you. So while a peer group does a lot of positive things for you it also can cause a negative impact on your life that you cannot allow yourself to get sucked into. The last and final group of socialization that is extremely important to an individual and probably sways them the most is mass media. We are bombarded with all kinds of mass media every day.
From TV, radio, and social media, there is always someone telling us their right way to do something and there is someone else telling us that is the wrong was to do something. Mass media “Influences people’s behavior through modeling and imitation” (1994). We know that when kids see things they will try to imitate them without even thinking if that will get themselves hurt or even killed in some cases. They see something cool on line in a YouTube video then go try it because it didn’t hurt the person in the video. If it’s safe for the person in the video then it’s safe for me. I am invincible, is what some kids will think.
I know from personal experience I can’t go more than 30 minutes without checking on Facebook or puling yahoo up and looking at today’s headlines. I get off from school and turn the radio on and listen to the news and music on the radio. I then get home and turn on the TV and they have the local news at 4, 5, 6, and 7pm. Then they have the national news on at 6:30. It’s too much. Macionis points out in chap 3 of “Society, the basics” that roughly the “average household has at least one television set turned on for eight hours a day and that people spend more than half their free time watching television(2015).
People sit in front of the TV and sit there like a bump on a log not doing anything or engaging their mind at all. They are being sucked into the TV and are clueless about anything else going on around them. We need some quiet time for ourselves just to sit and unplug ourselves from all outside sources and just think by our self. One of my favorite things to do especially when I have a horrible day is to just go deer hunting by myself. I could care less if I get a deer. I just enjoy being out there and listening to the sound of the wind and the birds.
I enjoy the smell of the pine forest and my thermacell. I turn my phone off and just sit there and watch the nature around me. This helps me forget about anything going on in my life and clear my head, even if I am only out there for 2 or 3 hours a week. I think an individual deserves some kind of cutting loose from society every week just to cut your brain off and reboot. Just you and your thoughts will help you really see what is truly important in your life to yourself.