The process of socialization in continuous in everyday life. There are multiple influences and factors which aid in the development of an individual’s sociological behavior. The process of how I developed as an individual, from birth to the individual I have developed into today will be broken down and analyzed throughout the beginning of this paper. Additionally, four agents of socialization which were the biggest factors in my development will be analyzed, those agents being religion, family, peers, and education.
The Analysis and Process of Socialization
Many social factors influence who a person grows to become from a child to an adult. Socialization is the progression through which individuals are shown to be a capable members of society. Socialization defines the ways individuals come to comprehend societal norms and expectations, to acknowledge society’s beliefs, and to be cognizant of social values (Griffiths, et al., 2017, p.102). My journey to become the man I am today has been long and enlightening. The values and beliefs I hold above all else will be presented throughout this paper and will show how they made an impact on my journey which is still continuing to this day.
Who is Theophilus Purdie Jr.
I, Theophilus Purdie Jr. also known as Theo was born on the 27th of July in 1988, at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, Texas to Jackie Purdie and Theophilus Purdie. I grew up in the city of Harker Heights which has a current population of 31,857, which has increased 19.2% from 2010 until now (U.S., n.d.). Fort Hood is a United States Army base co-located with the city of Harker Heights and brings many different cultural diversities to the city due to the military nature of the area. The area of Harker Heights I was raised in was low income and suffered from a higher crime rate. My parents were divorced when I was six months old and I grew up in a single parent home due to my father going to prison the majority of my school age years.
As a child I excelled academically consistently maintaining A’s and B’s on my report cards through elementary and middle school. I was introduced to sports in particular football at an early age but was unable to play on a team due to the cost. I was first able to play on a team when I graduated sixth grade and started seventh grade at Eastern Hills Middle School. Playing football introduced me to a whole new group of friend and social status’ of being an athlete. Upon completion of middles school and moving into high school I continued to play football and the groups of friends I associated myself with started becoming a negative influence in my life. I began to lose focus on my academics and allowed my grades to slip while withdrawing from the football team. My focus shifted to being more concerned with money and girls in line with the group of friends I associated with.
Joining the workforce and neglecting sports was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life. Although I missed football and the comradery which came along with the team, I began to be motivated my making money which I never really had much of growing up. With a little help from my brother I got a job working at Taco Bell at age 16 because he knew the manager. I went on to meet the love of my life a couple years later, when she transferred from another store to help train new hires. Little did I know I would go on to marry this woman, have children, and establish a happy fulfilling relationship. I soon after found a better job working at a construction company which provided extremely good benefits and financial stability until the furloughs began a couple years later.
The furloughs caused me to begin looking for a new job, because my hours were getting reduced and people began to get let go from the company. I made a phone call to what I believed to be another construction company, but soon realized I was talking to an Army recruiter. I considered joining the Army years before but was told I did not qualify for entry. The recruiter ensured me he could get me into the Army and made an hour trip from Austin to Harker Heights in order to help me obtain a new found career. I enlisted into the Army in October of 2009 as a Combat Medic and was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Basic Combat Training. I have enjoyed every moment of my career and my family has been supportive of me throughout my time serving. The Army has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, observe countless cultures, and meet so many different people along the way. I currently serve at Joint Base San Antonio as a Drill Sergeant and have been entrusted to train, mentor, and certify our newest Combat Medics for the fighting force.
Religious socialization theory is a significant amount of research covering religion and youth and the importance of influential persons’ in shaping an individual’s beliefs and practices (Religious, n.d.). Growing up religion played a huge role in my life in particular Christianity. My step-grandfather was a pastor and my family as a whole are still currently avid churchgoers. I attended Wednesday and Sunday services every week and any additional services or events that were taking place. My mother most of all was the major influence on my religion. She ensured I was up and dressed and ready to go to church and did not cut me any slack.
Peers such as schoolmates or friends with higher levels of affiliation, beliefs, practices relate to elevated levels of religiosity in youth and adults (Religious, n.d.). One of my closest friends growing up was from a religious family as well, his father is a preacher and his mother is an evangelist. This provided me another strong foundation outside of my home when I was around him and his family. Religion taught me most of my values I hold dear to this day, in particular right from wrong and how to treat other people upon simple interaction. All of the factors mentioned have helped me create my foundation as a person throughout my life long journey of being a Christian.
Family. Everything a child needs to know is taught to them initially by family such as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, and extended family, this is the first agent of socialization (Griffiths, et al., 2017, p.108). My sister was the person I learned from the most, from the start of my life she was always by my side taking care of me. My sister is ten years older than me and was practically a second mom to me, she was the one with me whenever our mother was at work in order to provide for us all. There are countless things I did I remember to this day she had to correct me on and let me know I was going down the wrong path. For example, I relied on others as a young child very often and she taught me how to be independent and to learn by doing so I wouldn’t have to rely on other people to do things for me.
Families who are not as financially stable or poor typically emphasize obedience and conformity when raising their children (Griffiths, et al., 2017, p.109). Without a doubt my sister ensured I remained disciple and obedient when my mother had to go away from the household and couldn’t ensure I maintain it herself. My grandparents owed a wrecking yard and car dealership. My uncles were mechanically inclined and also sold cars, I learned how to work on vehicle at an early age and also observed how to be a salesman. I learned so many things from my family as a whole and one of the biggest things I learned from my grandmother was self-drive. She was a businesswoman and pushed herself daily to earn all the things she achieved in life. She was able to teach all of us kids the value of hard work and discipline.
Peers. Peer socialization is the procedure in which individuals learn about the world surrounding them. They learn by interacting with others, establishing attitudes, beliefs, and comprehending anticipated behavior (Peer, 2017). Growing up I was surrounded with many different people and as time went on some relationships developed while others began to faded away. Not all people have the same values positive or negative and all people have different priorities in life. I was able to see the people I should actually keep around who had a positive impact on my life and the people who did not possess positive energy in which I could maintain in my life.
The people my family and I surrounded myself helped mold the character and person I have grown into today. I learned so much from my family but also learned a lot from my friends and peers around me as well. Without having those outside influences, I wouldn’t have been able to see what I truly found interesting and important to me in life. Seeing outside interactions from peers instead of family opened my eyes to how others were raised. For example, some peers were raised to show elders the upmost respect and some were not. I was raised to show your elders respect and address them as sir or ma’am. Simple gestures go a long way and this is such small example but can make or break the opinion you have of a person.
Education. Schools are not only in place in order to teach science, math, reading and other subjects but those are the core of the system. Educational institutions provide a hidden function in society by socializing kids into activities like performing teamwork, following an agenda placed before them, and utilizing tools and technology (Griffiths, et al., 2017, p.109). Many people do not realize the impact school and education have on children, but many times I have had my children come home and teach me something new which I didn’t know. Having so many other children to aid in sociological development can be positive and negative. Most teachers try to teach good habits and some may have methods that parents would not agree with so much.
School and continuing education was not emphasized by my family as I was growing up because both of my parents and my sister received a GED. I learned to be competitive from my peers in school and this led me to continue to strive to do better and continue to pursue my educational goals. Education was further reinforced due to the importance of education through life and development. Knowledge is a big factor in sociological status and also career development. I learn something new every day and to continue to advance in my job I have to constantly be pursuing education.
Sociological development begins at childhood and continues throughout your life as a whole. You will continue to learn from those who are around you consciously and subconsciously developing new norms and attitudes. Everyone around you aids in your sociological development whether you are learning positive or negative traits, you have to take them and develop yourself into the person you would like to be. For me the foundation for my development has been religion, family, peers, and education.
- Griffiths, H., Keirns, N. J., Strayer, E., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G., Sadler, T., . . . Jones, F. (2017). Introduction to sociology 2e.
- Peer Socialization 101 – What is Peer Socialization? (2017, December 28). Retrieved from https://thesensorystudio.com/2017/12/28/peer-socialization-101/
- Religious Socialization. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/religious-socialization
- U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Harker Heights city, Texas. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/harkerheightscitytexas/PST045218