When I think about it, I don’t know how to answer the question ‘Who am I’? When you ask people who I am they will probably tell you I am a country girl, I love my family, I’m in the military, I love sports, I’m shy, I’m caring, I work hard, I am a leader and I am determined but I like to think I am more than that. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a sailor, and so much more. My name is Chelsea Lyn Kile and I am a country girl that was born in Virginia but was raised in Washington state. My parents are divorced, and I am an only child while also being the oldest of five. I had to split my time between my parents. With my parents being divorced when I was so young and my mom remarrying soon after it was not the easiest household to live in. My mom and stepdad struggled a lot when I was growing up and it pushed me closer to my dad who today I consider my best friend. I spent all the time I could away from my house and used that time to get good grades in school and well mostly to wrestle. I wrestled for over 6 years when I graduated high school. After I graduated, I went to college and just a few years after that I joined the military.
When I joined the military, I followed in my mom’s footsteps as she joined when she was young and soon after me my sister joined the Navy. My dad was worried for me and did not necessarily want me to join but supported my decision to join the Navy in the end. I have gained and lost a lot of friends since I joined the navy and have faced a lot of adversity but I have learned so much from the navy and learned so many valuable lessons that I can say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would like to say that I have accomplished a lot in my life so far, but I don’t know if I have and there are some changes, I would like to make. There are still so many goals and other things I want to do with my life when I grow up and a different person I want to be.
Socialization is the way people learn societal norms, values, and the expectations they are expected to follow. Socialization is learned in different ways and affects people in different ways. Socialization has affected me since I could understand what was expected of me by my parents and has helped make me the person I am today. Socialization is learned from family members, friends, peers, school, media, religion/church, personal background and from work. Different agents of socialization that apply to me are family, mass media, peers, and work.
Family is the biggest agent of socialization that affected your development and is probably considered the most important and influential as well. My parents, grandparents, sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, and all my other family have influenced me in some way as I have grown up around them. When you are born your parents or guardians teach you everything you know because when we are young, we depend on them for help and for them to teach us everything we need to know. We learn stuff like how to talk, walk, religious beliefs, how to care for ourselves, and what is expected of us. As I grew up all of my family taught me social norms, beliefs and what was expected of me in society.
I think that the parents today are very different from the people who raised me even though I was only born in the ’90s and that even different from parents of different generations. I feel like they place different emphasis on different things they think are important to teach kids. I think parent availability has been a big thing that has changed from then to now. Family morals and values were taught to me from the moment I could understand things. They told me there is right and wrong and today’s parents use more of a grey area and are creating more entitled kids than ever before. I grew up in a stricter household than I think kids do today. I was taught morals, values, the importance of respect, working hard, and when I did wrong, I was punished. As we moved further and further towards the newer generations, we get more and more away from that.
Symbolic interactionism is a ‘theory that focuses on interactions between individuals’ (OpenStax). Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism and described it as people interact with things based on meaning and the meaning of things comes from interactions with others and society (OpenStax). An example of this is taking education seriously and maintaining good grades this might show that you have learned this from your family and they take education very seriously and expects good grades. My parents and family saw grades and getting a higher education very important and now so do I.
Another part of socialization that affected me growing up and even to this day is my peer group. A peer group is ‘The people who are approximately the same age as you and come from a similar social group’ (Cambridge Dictionary). Peer groups allow people to build relationships with others of similar social groups outside of family members. Peers have a huge influence on people when they are very young. Peer socialization begins when many are very young which can include when you’re playing outside with others, daycare, and pre-school as when I was young and attended both daycare and pre-school. When you are young you can learn simple things like taking turns, waiting politely and being nice to others from your peers.
As we grow up teenagers tend to pull away from their parents and build their own sense of self and their own identity and peers can have a big influence on that. When I was getting older, I wanted to spend more and more time away from my parents. Another thing that tends to set in is wanting to fit in and have a feeling of belonging with your peers and this is where I picked up some of my bad habits as a teenager that I outgrew as I got older.
Even today my peers affect me in the military. I grew up a lot when I joined the military and the people that I work with have a profound effect on me. Today I respect my peers and in turn want them to respect me and in that work environment it is important we do. It’s natural that just by being around other people you learn from them and they learn from you and you might not even be aware that it is happening at all. Emile Durkheim was a functionalist and ‘called the communal beliefs, morals, and attitudes of society the collective conscience’ (OpenStax). He believed that there is a shared set of norms, beliefs, and attitudes common in a social group or society. This concept shows how individuals are brought together into socials groups or societies. This is important because as humans we interact with peers and other people in every part of our lives.
Another socialization agent that affected people in school because we are required to attend school when we are young and school is several hours a day several days a week. The intended job school is to teach us certain topics required by the state and also life skills. School teaches us a lot of skills like listening to rules, paying attention, following orders, deadlines, teamwork, and socialization. Schools and teachers have found many ways to fit life skills into the plans that they teach every day. This is where we learn to work with all different kinds of people of authority like teachers, administration, and even principles.
‘Various parts of society work together to keep society functioning’ (OpenStax) and a critical part of this is school. Functionalism, also called Structural-Functional Theory, ‘sees society as a structure with interrelated parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of the individuals in that society’ (OpenStax). In the Functionalist theory, education is very important. Since society values education as a whole, it is important to get your education and succeed to keep the various parts of society working together to keep society functioning properly (OpenStax). In this theory not taking education seriously and getting bad grades and dropping out is called dysfunction (OpenStax) and keeps society from continuing a smooth function.
The last socialization agent that I am going to talk about is mass media. Mass media can be considered television, music, the internet, reading material and can influence people from a very young age. When I was growing up, I wanted to dress like the girls on tv as well as have the same hairstyle as and wear makeup like the girls on my favorite TV shows as well. Besides influencing us that way they can also influence our relationships and the way we interact and socialize with other people. One of the most talked-about debates that I know of today about media is about how much effect media has on teaching children violence since they start to see it from a very young age in TV shows, movies, and games. The sociological imagination theory is the belief that we are more than just the products of the decisions we make but also the beliefs, behavior, and fashion sense influenced by society (Baruch College). Society is a group of people sharing the same geographic location and a lot of the time they share the same beliefs. With the ability of the internet and social media everything changed.
In conclusion, the four socialization agents that I have talked about have had a huge impact on me from the time I was born to the present. We would live in a completely different work without societal norms, values, morales, and the expectations people are expected to follow. Socialization agents from family, school, peers, mass media and so many others make us who we are today. It is crazy to think that we learn so much from others and don’t realize it. So much of who we are as a person comes from learning from other people throughout our lives. Socialization agents are very important.