I found the following quotes from The San Jose Mercury News intriguing:
"Weakening bonds of friendship, which other studies affirm, have far-reaching effects. Among them: fewer people to turn to for help in crises such as Hurricane Katrina, fewer watchdogs to deter neighborhood crime, fewer visitors for hospital patients and fewer participants in community groups. The decline, which was greatest in estimates of the number of friends outside the family, also puts added pressure on spouses, families and counselors."
The article points out how friendship is tied to safety:
She (study co-author Lynn Smith-Lovin)
She's right, said Bob Howard of the American Red Cross' Hurricane Relief Project.
"People that had friends and family were probably most likely to evacuate,'' he said.
While exact numbers may be in question, the study shows a definate trend of decreasing resources. People are more isolated and have fewer friends and family to utilize in times of need. This decrease in emotionally intimate relationships is reported both inside and outside the family. Almost all interpersonal networking is now superficial.
I find it kind of ironic that one of the most frequent critisism against homeschooling is "socialization." Comments like, "They need friends!" and "What about the prom?" indicate a belief that school leads to friendship and connectedness. I think the opposite is true. School disconnects children from their families and from other children. More and more we see the "alone in a crowd" phenomenon, children with a pathetic need to fit it, but lacking any true relationships.
Of all my close friends, only one can I trace back to school. Note: I count someone as a close friend if I would feel comfortable calling them in the middle of the night when my car broke down and I was stranded. For the study, they asked participants to count and describe all the people with whom they had discussed matters important to them in the previous six months.
When I asked Henry this question, he responded, "Including family, work and church? It's might be a hundred." That may be a slight exageration. I think I could get 20 or 30 pretty easily, without having to think hard.
The Washington Post has an interesting article exploring the causes of the friendship decline. It is worth a look.
Technorati tags: Friend, Friends, Friendship, family, relationship, closeness, socialization, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, education