It isn't easy being _____

a.  green
b.  quiet
c.  alone
d.  all of the above

It 's a matter of perception and acceptance.  My blogger friend at Hummus Anonymous proposed a quiz about the trials of Cubs fans.  They have it rough.

On the right please note a rough green grass snake that was hanging its head way out into the trail space like an unruly vine Sunday morning. I was just getting going uphill on my hike at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center when I realized I was inches from this fella/gal. Was he just lying in wait for me to stumble along? Was she venomous? Did he have lots of friends nearby? Were they inclined to drop down on me from the branches like in my rain forest nightmare?

There wasn't another person on the trail that early. It was heaven to have the place to myself except for the snake, a wolf spider, a cute lizard, lots of swallowtails, hordes of hackberry butterflies, awesome moths, singing birds, and my own thoughts or lack thereof.

Our culture often seems aghast that a few oddballs actually want to be by themselves sometimes. That's because so many of us are trying to fake it as extroverts in a business world that demands team players and people persons. Maybe that lyric about people who need people being the luckiest people in the world is just envy of those for whom togetherness comes easy.

And now a coworker has thrust a new book upon me, sure that I will find it interesting.  She has seen through my  flimsy disguise! This afternoon I've begun reading Susan Cain's Quiet:  The Power of Introverts In a World That Can't Stop Talking. And more, I've watched Cain's TED Talk. How refreshing!

It's time for educators to realize kids don't necessarily learn or work well in the small groups that have been the devil of me since about eighth grade.  You put seven kids together to brainstorm over two joke-filled sessions.  Three kids are just too busy because of football and cheerleading to help write up the report. The remaining two introverts write up the project or experiment, find or create the visual examples, and carefully follow the required bibliographic format so everyone in the group gets an A+. All the while those two are internalizing the message that they are somehow defective for not being go-go social animals. Not that I'm bitter, except it isn't just high school. Employers need to reexamine this whole collaborative process to respect those who need time alone before they bring their ideas to the project.  What about the worker who would rather slowly consider, painstakingly document, and strive for clarity in a written analysis instead of blurting a reaction that sounds all yo-ho-ho me hearties at the time?

This Memorial Day I am thankful for the servicemen and women who keep us safe. But I am also grateful for two parents who respected and ensured time for solitary thought and quiet creation in my childhood.

Thanks to www.colourlovers.com for this perfect image!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Thanks for everything here, and for reminding me that I want to read this book!

Kim said...

Yes, as a fellow introvert I loved this post. I want to watch the TED talk by Cain.


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