The rhetorical answer was: "To keep other people out."
We see them in all aspects of our lives: country clubs, at work, even churches; you name it. Cliques start early in life. They began to form in elementary school, and by the time high school arrives, they are in full blatant, and unbridled form. You certainly see them in law school.
I'm guessing you've been a victim of a clique. I know I have. They make you feel bad about yourself. "Why aren't I good enough?", followed by the equally destructive "There must be something wrong with me," self – talk.
I'm old enough, and I suppose wise enough, at age 60, not to let this stuff bother me anymore. But it breaks my heart to see my kids having to go through it.
On the other hand, it's a great character lesson. It teaches them how to overcome adversity, and exclusion. But boy is it painful. And your natural inclination as a parent is to protect your children from pain.
The really sad thing is that in today's world, there are plenty of parents who encourage cliques. They do coed middle school spring breaks in groups. Their 13-year-old daughters in swimsuits that show way too much, coupled with pubescent boys who's hormones are likely raging. In their desperation for their kids to be part of the "in-crowd", these parents throw common sense and good judgment out the window.
Perhaps they're compensating for their own adolescent issues. Or maybe they're just nasty people. Far be it for me to judge them.
I suppose, I could just be jealous because my kids aren't part of the "in – crowd". But I don't think that's it. I've never been part of that crowd. Sure, it hurt when I was a kid. But today, I see how those early struggles formed the fibers of my character that enabled me to become who I became.
And I see how some of those "in – crowders" turned out.
I wouldn't trade places for anything.
And that's what I'm teaching my kids.