Saturday, February 27, 2010
Culture shock means the feelings of disorientation people experience when they find themselves in a different environment then they're used to. The term originally referred to the experience of someone moving to a foreign country. But similar feelings of disorientation may happen when kids start a new school, move to a different place, or have a change in their immediate family such as a sibling going away to college, a grandparent or step-parent moving in, or a new baby being born.
As adults we experience culture shock on a small scale all the time because the world we live in has had more changes in the last twenty years than it used to have in a matter of centuries. Do you remember a time before most people had personal computers? Before people on space stations were heard of? When all telephones were on land lines?
And in our current society changes are coming even faster. Have your favorite big-box stores changed their names and owners? Have other businesses you used closed down? Have you or people close to you had to find new jobs or leave their homes? Have you learned the car you've driven for a long time may be unsafe?
It's normal under those circumstances for people to cling to whatever is still familiar and refer to the way things used to be, perhaps even to an extreme degree. But, as we become used to the new normal, it will be possible for us and our children to release our hold on the past and move on.