NYC streets provide lessons in socialization

I was raised in New York City. I lived on a long block of five-story tenements. Without crossing a street, one could meet a thousand kids or more. Each one of these post-war brats had to integrate into one or more of the established groups. I can still recall the day I ran out onto the sidewalk and left my apartment alone for the first time.

Each kid had to pause and assess the situation; the possibilities; the threats. Each had to find a place within a group which would accept him.

Often a boy would create or invent a place or position or role for himself. Almost everyone learned to appease, please, confront with force or avoid boys who were much older, more violent, stupidly dangerous or members of a gang.

If one was smart, sensitive and perceptive, or gifted in some sport, game or mental ability, one managed well.

There never was room for, or the indulgence of, clownish bluster; spoiled self-absorption; ignorance of one’s lack of talent, grace or foresight. Kids of this kind were punished severely and repeatedly, or ostracized and ridiculed. Unfortunately, these street methods often failed as corrective measures. Some misfits seemed destined to grow more peculiar, more insensitive, more insulated and more socially inept or harmful.

Whether destined or insulated from the socialization of the street, Trump failed to learn self-discipline; self-reflection; principled behavior; the words and grammar of thought; and how to broaden consciousness.

Raphael O’Suna