Sunday, February 9, 2014


     I have always been a shy person, as a child I hid behind my mother's skirts or sometimes in the laundry room behind the furnace when people came over.  I am an observer, I love people watching, and I have learned much from doing so.
   For some reason I was comfortable in kindergarten, but after that school was painful for me.  Once I learned to read, I existed in the world of those books.  When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the plot and characters and reliving the stories.  In seventh grade, I made a conscious decision to stop living in my personal world of books and join reality.  As I have written here before, that was a big mistake. Reality is brutal to shy people.
   When the book Quiet came along, it almost championed my cause.  There will have to be a sequel titled Shy for it to really be my book.  Then the next one could be titled Late Bloomers and Why It Is Good Not to Peak Too Early in Life.  
    I watched the same pattern emerge for two of my children.  Early social success in school and then plummeting into invisibility and sometimes being bullied.  Now, after many years, they have come into their own, met people they connect with and who appreciate them.
     Long ago I read the novel I, Keturah by Ruth Wolff, a coming of age story about an awkward orphan who is told by her foster father, "The cream always rises to the top."  The novel ends with her acknowledging to him, that the cream had finally risen.  But in real life, this rarely happens.  Those who  point out their accomplishments get the praise, the rest of us toil (and perhaps excel) unnoticed.  What a relief to have a heavenly Father who does notice.  Without that comfort it would be impossible.
     Even at my advanced age, I can still feel like that little girl who is invisible at times.  I have learned to cope with it, but it still hurts.  When I feel like that I rush home to find solace in a place where I know I belong.
     Do I do this to quiet and shy students?  Do I notice them and compliment their achievements or just cater to the extroverts in the crowd?  Do my quiet students silently soothe themselves at home each night and avoid me because the pain of being ignored and overlooked is too much?  I hope not.  I need to attend to them first thing Monday morning to make sure.

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