My Mother’s Interview

Julius D’Amato

Professor Alvarez

English 110

21 April 2010

My Mother’s Interview

–  After reading my essay do you agree or disagree with how I was raised?

1. I agree that you were a product of concerted cultivation because I did have you in all kinds of sports.

2. I wanted to make sure I kept you off the streets and I kept you busy, so this way you weren’t influenced by your friends and that         you didn’t do the wrong thing.

3. Or get caught up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and by keeping you busy I enjoyed seeing you playing in all those               sports.

4. I feel you were raised a good boy.

–  Even though you feel that I was a product of concerted cultivation do you agree that I have some natural growth influence while I was being raised?

5. I believe you did have some natural growth especially once you got older, because you still went outside and still played in the              streets with your friends.

6. You did get into your fights with your friends and you did drive me nuts.

7. I believe you have some natural growth, but mostly concerted cultivation.

–  After learning about concerted cultivation and natural growth in my paper how do you feel that your parents raised you and how you were brought up?

8. In my case it was a little different my parents came from Puerto Rico and my mother didn’t speak any English.

9. I was the eldest child of four and I had a lot of responsibilities.

10. I had to help my mother out with all the translations.

11. I wasn’t allowed to really have friends and hang out.

12. I was always home but it wasn’t like they put me into anything, I wasn’t involved in anything, any kind of clubs, sports, or any                organized activities like that.

13. My whole thing was basically rearing my younger brothers and sister.

14. Making sure that I was the example for them, and helping my parents out with anything they had to do.

15. Going to school and translating for them, anything with my mother and school meetings with the teachers, but mainly it was                    four of us and we all played together.

16. My father worked from 3pm to midnight.

17. So when we came home from school he was leaving for work.

18. When he came home we were sleeping, so I was my mother’s right hand at home.

Essay 1

Julius D’Amato

English 110

6 April 2010

Concerted Cultivation and Accomplishment of Natural Growth: How Sports and the Neighborhood affect children according to Annette Lareau’s Unequal Childhoods.

Growing up, parents rear their children in many ways.  Annette Lareau in her book Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, And Family Life focuses on two different types of child upbringing; Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth.  Many people throughout the world use these two different techniques and don’t even know them, let alone that they use them.  Annette Lareau defines Concerted Cultivation as a type of child upbringing when middle class parents have a greater presence in the lives of their children; mainly through organizing the child’s daily life. Middle class families place great importance on scheduling and participating in a variety of extracurricular activities and sports. Middle class parents also encouraged independence and for their children to ask questions.  Concerted Cultivation has the parents more involved in the lives of the children, when in Natural Growth “the neighborhood raising the child.” Annett Lareau writes:

By making certain their children have these and other experiences, middle class parents engage in a process of concerted cultivation. From this, a robust sense of entitlement plays an especially important role in institutional settings, where middle-class children learn to question adults and address them as relative equals. (Lareau 2)

When it comes to concerted cultivation parents play a very active role in their child’s life.  The parents put their children in multiple leisure activities such as; sports, learning to play instruments and many other activities.  Concerted Cultivation mainly describes me throughout my life, especially from the ages 9 and 10.  I’ve participated in many activities for as long as I can remember.  My parents put me into; Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Tennis, and even a little Football.  And I enjoyed every minute of it.  Lareau argues about a sense of entitlement, and how concerted cultivated children question adults and see them as their relative equals.  I see this in my everyday life, for example when an adult gives me a rule (parents) I try to negotiate instead of just accepting it.

Products of concerted cultivation have many benefits.  Products of concerted cultivation also achieve many useful experiences that will benefit one later on in life in the institutional setting and also in the work force when they get older.  Products of concerted cultivation with all of its experiences, gives one a better work ethic.  Annette Lareau explains this in her book. She writes:

By encouraging involvement in activities outside the home, middle class parents position their children to receive more than an education in how to play soccer, baseball, or piano.  These young sports enthusiasts and budding musicians acquire skills and dispositions that help them navigate in the institutional world.  They learn to think of themselves as special and as entitled to receive certain kinds of services from adults.  They also acquire a valuable set of white-collar work skills, including how to set priorities, manage an itinerary, shake hands with strangers, and work on a team. (Lareau 39)

Around the age of 10 years old, as a product of concerted cultivation, I really didn’t see how all of these sports would affect me in the work force.  Looking at it now I can see that it really did help just like Lareau argued.  At the age of 10 years old one really doesn’t see how sports and all these activities could help one with acquiring these skills; how to set priorities, manage an itinerary, shake hands with strangers, work on a team, etc.  All of these skills really help one in the institutional setting as one grows up.  At 10 years old, when it comes to sports one just wants to get better and do good, one really doesn’t look at the advantages it sets up for the future.

Lareau explains in her book that activities that the children take part in have great importance to the parents of that child.  This happens in any concerted cultivated family.  Since everything has a great importance, this puts extra stress on the child to do well in everything he/she does.  Lareau writes:

In middle-class homes, adults treat children’s activities seriously.  A request for help is not likely to be waved aside.  Since parents in these homes often are preoccupied with their children’s lives, things that are important to children can easily become major events for their parents as well.  This in turn increases the pressure on children to succeed. (Lareau 82)

When I was 10 years old my parents lives basically revolved around me and this continued for a very long time, even now.  Mainly because my parents always drove me and sometimes my friends to our sport games and some days we had more than one game in a day.  My family would show up to every game that I had, a great example of what Lareau argues.

Even though I consider myself mostly a product of concerted cultivation because of all the activities I was involved in, I also consider myself a product of natural growth.  To many people’s surprise I see myself as both, some find this hard to believe.  While concerted cultivation deals with the middle class, the accomplishment of natural growth focuses on the working class.  Annette Lareau defines Natural Growth as a type of child upbringing when working class parents favor letting their children play freely compared to the middle class children who had lives scheduled around extracurricular activities.  Because of money problems and other issues surrounding the working class parents have concerned themselves with providing basic needs such as food and shelter.  Family relatives have a greater presence in working class families and help to raise the children together. At home, parents speak to children with commands rather than discussions or requests.  Lareau also show the good aspects of natural growth.  She argues:

The cultural logic of the accomplishment of natural growth grants children an autonomous world, apart from adults, in which they are free to try out new experiences and develop important social competencies.  Tyrec and other working-class and poor children learn how to be members of informal peer groups.  They learn how to strategize.  Children, especially boys, learn how to negotiate open conflict during play, including how to defend themselves physically.  Boys are also given more latitude to play farther away from home than girls. (Lareau 67)

I consider myself a product of both types of child upbringing because of how Annette Lareau describes them.  Around the age of 10 years old I participated in a lot of activities, but when I didn’t have a game or a practice, basically any of my spare time, I played outside with friends from my block.  These benefits that Lareau argued made me realize that I considered myself both concerted cultivation as well as the accomplishment of natural growth.  Hanging out with friends from my block made me learn how to be in an informal peer group, I also learned how to negotiate open conflicts.  Since the age of 10 years old I started getting into more fights and learned how to defend myself physically, an example of what Lareau explains.

Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth have many differences between them, but Language has the greatest importance.  They way that middle class uses language and the way working class and poor use language differ.  Middle class families freely share laughter, language, and affection.  In middle class families the parents rarely use physical punishment as an option in response to disobedience.  They have meaningful conversations with their children and all of this often leads to a sense of entitlement within the child, unlike the working and poor classes.  These classes basically speak to their children in short and simple sentences.  In middle class the children negotiate more, while in working and poor class negotiation occur less frequently.  Working class and poor class families use physical punishment more frequently than middle class families.  Lareau says:

Middle-class children, we found, often use their verbal skills to argue with their parents.  Rather than following parents’ directives silently, as children in the working-class and poor homes generally do, middle-class children tend to bargain, using reasoning to secure all small advantages. (Lareau 127)

In my life I see this happen frequently, but I also see a part of natural growth in me.  When my parents give me an order to do something I do try to negotiate I try not to take “no” for an answer, but nothing always goes as planned.  When I try to do something when my parents do not want me to I would do my best to get them to say “yes” instead of “no.”  Around the ages of 9-10 years old, even throughout my whole life I would try to do this all the time, but more so, on my mother.  I would always “test the waters,” as she says.  But as soon as she said “I’m going to get your father,” I shut up and did what I had to do.  As for physical violence my parents never hit me at all.  It never got to that point, I knew the “line,” and when I could or couldn’t cross it.  The worst that ever happens, has to be occasionally when my mother would take off the chancleta (slipper or flip-flop) to throw but nothing worse than that.  Again I consider myself mainly a product of concerted cultivation, but I did have some inkling of natural growth in me.

Works Cited

  • Lareau, Annette. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. Berkeley: University of California, 2003. Print.

PIE Paragraph

In A Girl like Me we learned about a test previously conducted by Dr. Kenneth Clark called the “Doll Test.”  This test was originally introduced in the historic desegregation case, Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.  The directors of this video decided to add this test to the video to how society affects black children today and how little has actually changed in 54 years.  The test in this video took 21 children in which they would put before them two different dolls, a white and a black one, and asked them questions.  Some questions asked were which is better?  And which is the good doll?  When the African American children were asked which doll they preferred and 15 of the 21 chose the white doll.  Pierre Bourdieu argues that this kind of result comes from symbolic violence.  He writes:

Symbolic violence rests on the adjustment between the structures constitutive of the habitus of the dominated and the structure of the relation of domination to which they apply: the dominated perceive the dominant through the categories that the relation of domination has produced and which are thus identical to the interests of the dominant.  Because the economy of symbolic goods is based on belief, the principle of its reproduction or crisis is found in the reproduction or crisis of belief, that is, in continuity or rupture with the adjustment between mental structures (categories of perception and appreciation, systems of preference) and objective structures.  (121-122)

There was one girl in this film that when asked which doll was good she picked the white doll.  When asked which doll was bad she said the black one.  Then when asked which one looked like her she was hesitant, she wanted to pick the white one, especially since she said it was good and the black one was bad, but she picked the black one.  She learned something about herself at this point.  This doesn’t mean that she thinks she is bad but she caught herself in a contradiction.  Bourdieu argues that the dominated (in this case black) see the dominant (in his case white) in ways that the domination makes them appear, which is in the best interest of the dominant.  So it says that blacks see whites as better off in society like everything is for them, because that is an appearance that is shown. And that could be a reason that the black girl picked he white doll because she feels that the white one is better off.  This displays the symbolic violence that Bourdieu tries to portray to his readers.  There is a constant conflict within people that was shown in this video.  And this conflict will exist for a long time.

Media Post (YouTube)

Top 10 Baseball Fights

I posted this video because I was on youtube looking up baseball bloopers to post and i came across the top 10 baseball fights, and I had to post it.  My personal favorite is #4, Izzy Alcantara Kicks the catcher.  I like this one because no one would expect a batter after getting nearly hit to drop kick the catcher.  I found that really funny.  I’ve been playing baseball since i was 4yrs old and have been watching it for longer and I never saw a fight where something like that happened.  You asked for a media post and here it is.

My High School and Queens College

We discussed our high schools a few classes back and what ours was like compared to college. I went to St. Francis Prep and I liked it a lot.  Jack brought up a point in class saying that at Prep we had basically a college experience, and he was right.  We had all the sports teams, we had school rivals, it was a huge school, and mainly it was a great experience.

Queens College is totally different in many aspects.  I understand that it is a commuter college and not a dorm-away university, but i still expected to experience “college life.” Queens has some sports teams but normally when you think college you think of the big sporting events and i feel queens lacks that.  also the fraternities and sororities are definitely not what i expected.  there are some what lack luster when you think about it.  I feel that TV and Movies gave everyone a certain outlook on how college is and then when you go to a commuter college its totally different. Don’t get me wrong I like Queens college, it is a great education at an affordable price, i just feel it would have been better if it was a more social college.

But like I said I like Queens college and I realize now that we had it made in High School.

Chapter 1

When I read the first chapter of Unequal Childhoods i found it very interesting how the author compared concerted cultivation and natural growth between the different social classes.  I felt that this difference is very noticeable in different societies.  this chapter actually really opened my eyes while i was reading it.  And it is very easy for you to see which type of growth, concerted cultivation and natural growth, you where a product of.

Training Children

When i comes to training kids it is very different from what we talked about in class about training pets.  I feel that you don’t so much train children.  children learn mostly by example, “watch and learn.”  I typed in training children in into google and went into the first link i saw and these were some “supposed guidelines” for training children:

  • Be reasonable and fair in your requests.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  • Be vigilant.
  • Be just in your discipline.
  • An immediate, negative consequence is usually best (because it is easily understood and free from psychological repercussions).
  • Be merciful in overlooking genuine accidents, as well as when you observe genuine repentance.
  • Be consistent.
  • Be loving always and especially so when your child is behaving well.

I looked at these few guidelines and i kept thinking that this is something that Cesar would say on the dog whisperer.  some of it doesn’t make sense to me mainly because it sounds like dog training.  you have to guide the child and teach it a lot of things but you have to remember its a child not an animal and you should treat it like one.  so if your child spills a drink on the floor don’t say “Tsst” and reprimand with a stern voice, guide and show the child what you should do in a certain situation.

Getting on Qwriting

I didn’t think that it was hard to make my account for this blog I just had one problem with it.  I forgot my password and every time they sent me one it reset somehow.  Today in class in the library they sent me a password that didn’t reset and I finally got onto the blog, and basically that’s it.

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