To my utter surprise, I’m not really an introvert. I recently read the popular book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” to try to understand better our family dynamics only to figure out that both my kids and my husband are full blown introverts and I’m truly the extrovert.
I had convinced myself that I was an introverted because I do enjoy quiet time, but my need to be with people is much stronger. Who knows maybe I’m in between? The point is that from reading that book, I ended up understanding my kids and husband more than me. No, really I’m the outsider in my home. My husband and kids love to spend the weekends at home. I do too but I have to get out after a while. They don’t. They don’t seem to have this urge.
At parties, I’m the social butterfly, the three of them are quiet, in a corner. I mean they socialize but only with the people that they choose to socialize with. I, on the other hand, need to meet everyone and smile and say Hi. Anyways, it doesn’t matter, I have enough extroversion for the whole family. And because we have these differences, I can help my kids with some interesting life situations.
My kids have the whole “I can think and figure things out on my own” thing down packed, but I encourage them to experience the world outside their own. With an extroverted mom, I take them out and have them see new things. I show them through my example that they can meet new people, and most people are usually nice. I teach them that experiencing the world outside their comfort level is fun and useful. By having new experiences, meeting new people, they can go back to their inner worlds and have so much source material to create, to write, to think about.
I teach them that to get out of their own comfort level, although it might seem challenging and scary, it’s OK. They get to live so many new and wonderful experiences, and meet interesting people that they couldn’t had have if they had stayed glued to their books, in the comfort of their home and in the sheltered life.
I don’t push extroversion on my children, I love the deepness of their souls and minds. Plus I get to spend a lot of time with them because they prefer to be home, quiet, away from the craziness of the world. But I gently invite them to come out with me often to see that outside world that has so much to offer and so many adventures waiting for them.
That’s the extroverted value that I bring to my introverted children. I don’t change their ways, but I invite them to experience a little more of the outside world with me as their guide. When they grow up, they’ll be able to appreciate both worlds, and they’ll see how both are necessary, even if you have a preference for one of them.