Peer group. Now there’s a term that is used and overused in today’s lexicon.
But to which peer group do you belong? How do you define your peer group? Is it widely accepted as a peer group, or is it just a peer group in your opinion. I know, I know. That’s a strange question. But think about it.
Probably the most commonly defined peer group is defined by age. You know, all us old folks or all those teenagers, or the Me Generation or Generation X.
But what about some of the other groups defined by interest or profession or membership?
All those lawyers . . .
All those teachers . . . .
All those people from L.A.
All those people who drink coffee. . . .
See what I mean?
When I started teaching, I considered the parents of my students as my peer group. After all, I was teaching middle school and my own kids were in 3rd and 4th grade. Every year that I taught there were always a number of parents that became good friends and we would socialize outside of academia.
One day, shortly before I retired, I was having lunch with a parent whose youngest child was in my program. At some point during the conversation, she said to me, “You know, I was just a year behind your daughter in high school!” My world stopped and the arrow went straight to the heart. With one simple sentence I had aged one whole generation!
So, I maintain the “peer group” is defined by a whole bunch of things, no small part of which resides in our own mind. . . . and that’s not a bad thing. . . necessarily. It helps us all to keep things in order. However, therein lies a trap. It’s pretty easy to ascribe characteristics as well as beliefs and mores by how we group people. Can you spell profiling?
Of course, there are some peer groups to which we all aspire. The wealthy, and/or the beautiful, and/or the talented folk.
Then we check our wallets and the mirrors and realize that instead we belong in the poor, the ugly and the tired. The consolation there being that we form a pretty large peer group, and, truth be told, if I belonged to one of the wealthy/ beautiful/talented groups I’d be awfully lonely. A ll my friends would be in the other ones.
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.