Democratic culture

It’s interesting to me how embedded the concept of democracy is in American culture. Kids on playgrounds all over the United States make decisions about which game to play at recess by voting. If you go around the circle and 4 kids want to play football, and only 3 want to jump rope… you play football.

I was at an after-school program recently with some elementary school kids. Before I started the Bible-study portion we were playing some games. The kids were trying to decide between playing a game called “Guerrilla, Man, Gun” or “Mount, Knight, Chariot”. There was some disagreement, and eventually an argument broke out. Rather than intervene, I decided to watch and see how they would handle the situation. Finally, once sides were clearly formed, a kid spoke up and said, “Look! It’s 7 against 5! We’re playing ‘Mount, Knight, Chariot’!”

What caused him to rationalize the solution this way? Is it human nature to settle small disputes like that by way of democracy, or is that something ingrained in our American way of thinking? Do kids choose games by way of democracy all over the world? Does 7 against 5 hold any weight in other cultures?

Obviously underneath this argument was a sense of entitlement that Americans have. We assume we should have a choice in which games we play. But when it actually comes to making the decision, is this a normal reaction? Would children in India or China settle the argument this way?


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