I teach Psychology at 10+2 level. When I begin a chapter on Group Dynamics (that’s one of my favorites) by asking the students to recall their kindergarten experience of making friends.
Those who can trace-back, old childhood memories share that in very little time they got playmates. To their amazement, groups began to form at such a tender age. And these groups also had leaders (predominantly authoritarian) who decided the game and precious few who could be part it. There were hard-core followers in the group. and few were outrightly denied entry. There would be gossips in and around the group by the kindergarteners in their own little but important ways. Remember, the shy and the ignored ones in your class?
I’ll do a short personal sharing that resonates with the class discussion on group dynamics.
This was primary school and I was a follower in a girl’s group. Most of the girls in the class were keen on being connected to this group. A girl who was obviously a teacher’s favorite, named Kanishka was unanimously chosen as a captain of the girl’s group. (We learned this term ‘captain’ quite early in life to sort human hierarchical structures in our head.) Kanishka decided the games to be played during the sports period. She also decided the rules of the game. Everyone preferred to follow her dictated rules or one would experience refusal to play.
And yes, if it’s my birthday, I would give the honors to Kanishka (as a special friend) and take her along to distribute sweets to teachers. On the way, I would give her few extra sweets.
You see, she is popular and in return, she would give me a better treatment when the girl gang is at play.
Quite occasionally someone would break away from the group. You see, there was conformity and high need for affiliation. But, deep in the heart, everyone preferred to be with Kanishka.
Solitude play evokes different thoughts and emotions than when a child plays with others. Both are significant in the personality development of an individual.
Recall your days of childhood while you were at play. And I am sure that a number of emotions and thoughts would upsurge…You’ll be able to determine your relationship with yourself and of course others.
My next article would be a personal sharing of playing with neighborhood friends and this experience is in complete contrast to my role as a ‘follower’ in girl’s group at school.