Your children are drones…REALLY???

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by Kenneth Justice

Is it just me, or are all of them dressed exactly the same?!

~ I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago with a good friend of mine and a dozen college kids came in, all dressed nearly identically. One of the young men sat down next to us and started talking; apparently they were all from Poland and here in the Midwest on some type of summer holiday/volunteer program helping out a local charity.

Is it just me or are you all dressed the same?” my friend asked the student. The young man looked puzzled as he didn’t seem to think he and his fellow students were dressed all that similar, “I’m wearing a blue shirt that is a different color than everyone else” he said, and at that my friend silently winked to me; although, yes, the young man was wearing a different shade of blue than the other college kids, for the most part they were all dressed similarly as though they’d all shopped at the same store and bought the same designer clothes.

Humans are interesting creatures, there is something within the majority of us that wants to look like the rest of the herd. Whether you grew up in the country, the suburbs, or the city; it is likely that many of the clothing styles you wear or the types of words or accent you speak with have been heavily influenced by the people around you.

Sociological experiments have found that less than 5% of people tend to go against the grain; the rest of the 95% of people will knowingly answer incorrectly merely to fit in with the rest of the crowd. The simple fact of the matters is the majority of your behaviors are motivated by the various influencers and external agents that govern your life.

—-) Political elections have very little to do with people voting for who they believe is the best candidate and EVERYTHING to do with people voting for who they have been influenced to elect

—-) The food you eat and the clothes you wear are mainly a product of the influencing agents of your family, friends, co-workers, and advertisements you’ve been seen

—-) Your life goals in life are not independent thoughts you arrived at through deep introspection; but are rather more an amalgamation of the cultural, family, and other influences that have driven you toward thinking in a particular manner

Most of the time I’m glad that these external influences exist. Take for instance soap, there are simply too many different brands of soap for me to research as to which one is the best soap for me to wash my dishes with or use to clean my hands. If I had to do my own independent research study on every single brand of soap it could take me a long time to decide which soap to purchase and by then my dishes would be stacked really high. Thanks to the propaganda of advertisers, or perhaps the influences of my parents and friends, I’ve been conditioned to purchase particular soaps as a matter of everyday life; and that is okay.

However, purchasing soap is hardly on the same level of electing a President or Prime Minister is hardly and I often wonder how much you and I are being influenced to think a particular way without us ever being aware of these invisible influencers.

If you have children you have been influencing them to think and act in a particular way ever since they were born. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s the natural order of life. We tell our children that we want to raise them up to be forward thinking individuals; young men and women who objectively think for themselves. Yet the simple truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of people do not think for themselves; we go through life choosing soap and cereal brands based on the built in system of influencers that exists all around us.

So what does all of this mean? Is it good or bad that life is the way it is? Is there any way to change Western Culture? Those are all pretty deep questions, and at the moment the most pressing issue in my life is finishing this cup of coffee.

Until tomorrow,

Kenneth

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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27 replies

  1. In general, parents are the main influencers of their children. There is good and bad side of it.

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  2. I think there’s a status quo wherever you go in the world, not just here. I also think there are times when it’s appropriate to make sure you fit in (for your own personal ease of life), and then other times when you should stand-up and voice your opinion without caring what anyone else thinks. It’s all about finding your own personal balance that works for you and finding your niche in the world.
    I was raised by liberal parents in a very conservative small town. I often felt like I didn’t fit in there. While in school, there were times that I was ostracized for standing up for the rights of groups who were different from my peers, and I didn’t dare share my non-Christian beliefs with anyone. Once I went off to college, I found more like-minded people to hang out with. As a teacher, there were times that I kept my views to myself in order to not jeopardize my status as a mentor to children.

    • My children are being raised by liberal parents in a very conservative small town. I often feel like I don’t fit in here. 🙂 Unlike you (if I’m reading your statement right), we are Christians but our Christian views are radically different than most around here. I understand completely the careful balancing act you are talking about. When to speak up and when to stay silent – a very difficult call to make!

    • I so agree! My main solution was to leave the conservative town that my parents raised me in once I was 18. I raised my own children in a more liberal, accepting environment where there was lots of diversity. Still, there were things that I kept quiet about in the town that I taught in in order to make my life easier and to show respect to the people that I worked with. I’m not one to argue belief systems with anyone, because that’s a very close and personal choice. 🙂

  3. I think the first step into a life of critical thinking is to be able to discern those outside influences and how they intersect with our own person. Well done, Kenneth! I don’t believe people open their eyes often enough to see what that layer of Bloom’s Taxonomy where belonging fits in actually does for their lives.

  4. With the burgeoning number of choices and opportunities available in the world, it is only natural that we would outsource a lot of our decision making so that we can concentrate on our priorities. My wife tends to dress me. I just say “Yes” or “No”. My son decides a lot of the activities I do. The place I live determines a lot of the hobbies and amusements I can pursue. The neighborhood determines to a large extent how my home can look. And the government takes care of a lot of the rest. I balance all of these and live ‘fairly’ independently in the free moments. Though one unpopular idea, or misplaced phrase can scotch a whole lifetime of bridge building. Sigh.

  5. I\ll have a cup.. ooh wait what brand is it…. Haha I will try everything at least once.
    So yes I tried many soaps, or even deodorants. And the only thing influencing my choice is the reaction of my body.
    Second of which, fun fact. In the Netherlands we have dozens of detergents but only two major manufacturers making different brands in different factories. same is for shampoo and many more products. I believe even in the US, Unilever is a well known manufacturer

  6. Hello, Ken! Hope You finished that cup of Coffee to Your satisfaction! 🙂

    Peer Pressure belongs to the Teen Age. Yet Most people prefer to be the Sheep of Animal Farm, BECAUSE IT IS EASIER.

    We Need Lions.

    And it is not confined to the States! 🙂 Regards.

  7. We all have our costume. Bikers have theirs (motorbikes different from cyclists), hipsters have theirs, doctors have theirs. Sometimes its a way of saying “this is who I am” or “this is what makes me feel comfortable” or “this is the group I belong to.”

  8. Love this one Kenneth. You make so many excellent points. Awareness is the first step and hopefully as each day passes, more people will become aware of all you say. We can only hope 😉

  9. Life Changes. Circumstances change.
    Sometimes we try so hard to fit in this colorful world; our old way
    of being into new circumstances
    rather than becoming new yourself.
    Embrace transformation as an opportunity or travel and try the other side.
    Kenneth, you stand out!

  10. I tell myself and my son that normal is not something to aspire to, but something to run from!

  11. Every perceived weakness is a hidden strength. How best to take advantage of that suggestibility and conformance? Getting people to eat better should be a snap.

  12. It’s absolutely impossible NOT to influence your children. How would one do that? How can you not be who you are? No matter who you tried to be or how you tried not to influence them…that would be the way you would influence them. They in turn, come with their own personality and influence you as well. You can’t make them be someone they are not. You can try, but you drive each other insane, hate each other, kill yourself or just run away from each other. It’s better to just accept the fact that everyone is different and get on with it. Still, the influence is there…always and forever. Your marriage influences your kids and teaches them what marriage is, whether you or they, like it or not. Everything influences your kids…we are all like sponges and we are all influenced by the things around us. Everything you do and everything you say, wear, watch, read, etc., teaches your kids what life is all about and who you are. They may misinterpret things, but that’s just the way it is. You have your kids all to yourself until they play with others. You get them when they are vulnerable and open to everything. Peers come into it a bit later but the foundation is already there, so they can ignore it, embrace it or look at you as if they have finally figured out that you are insane and let it go at that.

    As for the clothing thing. Clothing is a statement (like everything about a person). This is the gang, club, cult, culture, to which I belong. I’m a preppie, Goth, Motorhead, Brainyack, Misfit, whatever, just look at what I’m wearing or driving or carrying in my hands. People are attracted to others because of how they look. If you’re like me come over and say hi. If not, you can stop by but you may have to move on. We will have to see what we have in common. Stupid, sure but it is a language all of it’s own and we use it every single minute of our day. It’s how we judge each other…should I be afraid or does that person look okay? That guy looks weird or dangerous…wow, that person looks cool, maybe I should say hello…it’s all weird and silly but we all do it. It’s automatic. The way a person looks tells us whether to run away or stay. Unfortunately, people can look like anyone they want to and that is where the danger comes in. It’s not a foolproof system and there are bodies buried everywhere to prove it.

    When people dress in similar ways, it makes them feel equal, like they all agree to see certain things in similar ways. It’s not REAL, it just makes our brains happy. Nothing is real, but we believe it is and that’s how we get through life. Our clothing is basically our gang colors. Our clothing shows what we believe and where we fit in. It advertises who we are.

    If someone dresses in an outlandish way, and they are not an artist, well, good luck with that. Could be the kid who wore rubber boots to school everyday in case it rained. A different path altogether. May be brilliant and a lot of fun, but the jar of flies he carried around with him, put everyone off. Clothes is a signal saying stay away or you might have a home here. LOL We are all mad and none of it matters in the long run. We are who we are and we can get into trouble when we try to pretend we are someone else. Just for fun, try wearing the clothing from a different group for a few days. Makes you want to hide in your closet. It’s worse for females, because of the whole make up thing. But if you’re a guy, try putting eyeliner around your eyes and wearing black lipstick. Wear a hat and paint your nails black. Or wear your pants hanging off of you or a bandana and chains…or a suit, tie, and wingtips. If you want to know the powerful role clothes play in your life…just go against type for one week. I don’t think I could do it for a day, but I’m just saying…try it and then you’ll know how important clothes truly are. When someone says, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that,” they might actually mean it.:)

  13. so funny…. was just like this when I was a kid!

  14. Needlessly cynical. There is no point wasting your time thinking about what “most” people say and do. That is just statistics and numbers. Probability-wise life and certainly awareness should never have emerged. Reality works based on unique occurrences, not based on trends. It is one in 20 that think differently, uniquely, they are the leaders that set the trends other humans follow. Democracy brings a false hope that we can all be leaders of our own lives. Maybe in time this will trigger a change in our DNA. But as it stands we have been wired to lead and follow in this pattern and proportion. The statistic can only ever give us this outline. The detail is always filled in by the stories of unique individuals.

  15. Different stands out — just as holiness sets apart. When the currents of society pull people into conformity, people rarely stop to find out where its taking them. Daring to be different, to be unique, to be authentic — those are the traits that parents can instill in their children.

  16. When reading a biography about George Washington it discussed how Washington really enjoyed fashion and wanted to always wear the height of fashion. Most likely Washington wanted to play the part of wealthy genteel planter on par with the fashion of the wealthy of Great Britain. The man himself was a great manager of war in-between battles, poor tactician.

    I also read a biography on Dwight D. Eisenhower in which described him as often dressing very plain, in fact he was buried in his long general coat lacking hardly any military decorations as he wished. Eisenhower was also a master commander of men in-between battles, and shown prior to assuming his command as Supreme Commander also a poor tactician.

    Just a thought that was produced by this post.

  17. Not sure that your brand/parental loyalty can really be described as parental influence, Kenneth. We all know as the children of Muslims are almost certainly going to follow the Muslim faith the children of Christians are most likely to become Christians. Though not the same wording, this was one of your observations only a week of two ago. Soap’s the same, in my book. But it’s a interesting point.

    Most children are rather more conservative than we might think; and especially where their parents are concerned. They can even panic if they think other children might consider their parents odd in any way.They want them to fit in with some sort of stereotypical parent that is a figment of their vivid childhood imaginations; combinations of how they see their friends’ parents, parents as depicted by Hollywood, and story books.

    Having been born of a Norwegian mother – who scarcely spoke English for the first few years of my life – in rural England, things were never going to be easy in the conforming department. However much I wanted to conform, I couldn’t because my mother didn’t. There just aren’t enough Norwegians in the world to go round, and of those there are, most live in Norway. But I didn’t conform in Norway either, because of my English father. But it did give me rather a different outlook on life, which I am thankful for, if not all the time.

  18. I think most parents teach their children to be free thinkers, but are public school system does it’s best to stomp that out. We are taught to conform to a dress code, to specific interests and to think specific things about those interests. In my experience, only the honor classes and others specifically targeted at “exceptional” students left any room for free thought.

    I often wonder why that is. I remember in my private school they made a big deal about the scores we got on some government standardized test. They said they were going to incorporate more critical thinking into the classrooms as a result. But shouldn’t we all be taught to think critically about our world?

  19. As you already know, my son has Asperger’s syndrome. For some reason (not because of me) he has a real problem with overweight people. He just doesn’t like them. He will make mean faces at them and pretend he’s shooting a Spiderman web. He’s said to me various times, “I don’t like fat women”. I have never ever spoken bad about overweight people, nor do I EVER speak bad about my own body (at least in front of my kids). He says to me, “I love skinny girls.” I tell him that all people are beautiful and that we need to love them (treat them with respect). At any rate, who knows why he thinks that way.
    So, in saying this, I was thinking this morning about different cultures and dress, food, body shapes, etc that are part of that culture. Different tribal people groups of Brazil for example. They don’t wear clothes. They don’t work out. If you wear clothes into their tribe, they think you’re hiding something so then you can’t be trusted. They recognize each other by their butts. They eat ants and live mostly off the land. They have similar hair styles, super different the western fashion. Then you have Mauritania. The bigger the woman, the more beautiful she is. Parents even send their daughters to camps where they are forced to eat 15,000 calories a day. Then you have tribal people in Kenya that think stretched earlobes are beautiful. Tribal people in Thailand that think long necks are beautiful. I think they even put these big rings around them to stretch their neck to the maximum. Then there are other tribal groups that think scarring the skin in certain ways is beautiful.
    So yea, we are definitely victims to our society and what it dictates as good, acceptable, beautiful, healthy. I could go on and on and on some more about this, but I’ve gone on long enough.
    Hope you’re well.
    🙂

  20. I think as long as what the parents are passing on to the kids are good character, good morals, tolerance, honesty. etc. then it is a great idea to pass on, in general, what they believe in. I have forced my kids to make decisions for themselves about all facets of life, including researching the candidates themselves since they were 12 and we even hold mock elections based on qualities and beliefs of the candidates with no names attached. As such we have had some really interesting elections in the household. What disturbs me are the parents who take the opposite route and try to tell their children to believe this or that without teaching the kids why it is necessary to think for themselves and how to research ideas and concepts for themselves. My own parents were this way and when I left home as soon as I graduated high school, I had no concept how to think for myself or make decisions for myself. My first real decision… I decided then and there never to put my own kids through that f I ever had any.

  21. I was asked once why I always wore black (many moons ago in my working life).

    Part of my reply was that “so I didn’t have to make choices in the morning of what colour to wear.” I was tempted to answer “because that’s how I feel every morning when I have to come to this boring job and listen to your boring criticisms of why I don’t confirm to your idea of what’s normal.”

    Not nice thoughts in those days.

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