Culture consists of the things that we have learned to do, to make, to believe, to value, and to enjoy in our lifetime. Our culture expresses the basic values of our society. The forces which interact on the playing fields, in the gymnasium, and elsewhere provide for children a steady flow of motivations and feelings which gradually shape the personality.
In the sense that we as teachers have a part in controlling or influencing to some extent these factors in our culture, we become guardians and developers of personality by influencing the dominant attitudes and goals of that part of our culture related to games, sports, and recreation in general.
Four investigators related interest and participation in sports to social values and learning in children.
Thrasher, in the study of city boys’ gangs, indicated that physical prowess is an important factor in group leadership, but not essential. Boys physically deficient received positions of leadership by traits of “daring, decisiveness, and brains.”
Hawkes, using an inventory entitled “making choices,” found that boy placed friendship, excitement and recreation, and family life at the top of the rank order and valued least privacy, power and control, and recognition.
Girls valued friendship, family life and excitement, and recreation in descending order. At the base of the rank order they placed physical freedom, recognition, and power and control.
Dennis, comparing American, Armenian, Arab, and Jewish children in Lebanon, found that American children were rewarded with praise for performing in sports and games three times more frequently than were the Arab and Jewish groups.