Since my focus here (once I learn the language) is to recruit and train people to work with children, I thought I would share what I have learned about the kids so far.
First off, as I have shared before, kids are very important to a family, and a village/town. Kids here walk everywhere by themselves, or in groups, because they are completely safe. Just a couple of days I was talking with a Georgian about this, and he said that they have no concern about their children going off by themselves, because they do not have the “really sick” people like we have in America. And if anyone did do anything to a child here, he and his house would go up in flames before the cops could arrive. And when speaking with a mother about children walking off in a store, she commented that here they do not worry about where they went, but how much candy they were being fed.
Secondly, because children are the focus of the family, they tend to be given everything that they want. Early on children learn that if they scream loud enough, they will get what they want. And so they do. This entitlement is different than in America, though. In America, it is about getting the most expensive stuff in order to buy love. In Georgia, it is more about the little things…like not wanting to wait for anything (because as a child, you can walk into a store and cut in front of the line). Rather than focusing the spoiling on things and possessions, they tend to spoil with attention and little gestures of affection and pride.
A third thing I have noticed is that the kids do not spend much time in school. In fact, they rarely go for more than 3 or 4 hours a day. The days are broken up, and kids go to school at different times…some in the morning, some in the afternoon, some in the evening, with classes ending at 7pm. I could probably write an entire post or two on their education system, but let me sum it up in this way. Kids do not learn much at school, especially since they don’t go for very long. So for the important subjects like math, science, etc. they pay for tutors to actually teach them. And that is in addition to homework and all of the extracurricular activities that they pay tutors for…like piano, violin, dance, etc. You think kids in America are over-scheduled? Try handling all of that each day…
And lastly, kids here seem to turn into restless teens. I know, that sounds just like in America, but it’s true. These kids are looking for something more. And so they start drinking and smoking at a young age (I have not yet found anyone that can say if they have a legal age for either), partying, staying out late (after all, it’s “safe”) and just generally look for something fulfilling in all of the wrong places. There may not be the intense peer pressure like in America, but they still all have the desire to fit in, to find where they belong, and figure out who they are – despite what the culture or their parents tell them about who they are.
They are all looking for Christ, without realizing it. Oh, what fun I will have once I am able to start the ministry phase of my time here!
Oh and one last thing…yes, fidget spinners have officially become a thing here. They are now in every little neighborhood corner store. 🙂