I promise I'll get to the point, but we have to meander a bit before I can get there. Sorry, it's how my brain works. I realize that this doesn't really fit with the usual "assignment" and, I'll probably lose style points for failure to be organized. Ok, but at least it isn't a late assignment (oh, it is? nevermind).
Last night J and I went to a big benefit for a local organization. We like the organization and are happy to contribute. We like loads of the people involved. I was genuinely looking forward to going. But, as we walked over, we were discussing how we were kind of tired and steeling ourselves to go. We were gathering the energy to participate and communally trying to see how it would play out. We sat, as it turns out, with two lovely couples and had a really enjoyablely time. So, why so reticent?
We are both introverts. 75% of the population might consider this too much to understand - that a night of partying in a crowd looks, from the outset, exhausting and stressful. That, hanging out with a lot of people (even people we genuinely enjoy) is tiring. Most folks would find it odd that we love a quiet evening of just chatting on our porch with no extraneous music or noise or that I can sit in a silent home (or office) for 10 hours straight and the time just slips away.
I remember coming home from school exhausted and disappearing in the woods or to my room for hours. The constant barrage of people (not all nice and not all friends) in school wore me completely out. Add to that the stress of paying attention, getting the right stuff from here to there, and dealing with being a kid - wow, did I ever hate school.
Am I surprised, then, that Z disappears to the bathroom for 45 minutes the second he steps off of the bus? Z can disappear in a book or somewhere for hours and not be heard from at all. Z is also introverted. It is readily apparent from his behavior that large groups are as confusing to him as they are to me (less so to J, who simply prefers solitude, but doesn't share my uneasiness).
Why is it, exactly, that we think putting all children (introvert and extrovert alike) in one room with twenty other loud kids (sometimes the players switching constantly throughout the day) for six hours straight and expect them to perform well there? Will any introverts select careers where they'll spend all day jostling in space with a bunch of other people? Do they need social training to deal with that barrage on the senses?
Maybe there should be little spaces that introverts can carve out as their own? They could decorate their little spaces and visit one another (in controlled amounts) to practice the kind of one-on-one friendships that they will foster as adults. They can recharge their minds and bodies with some solitude intermixed with cognitive exploration.
Hey, I have an idea - they can do that at home - ok?
We could call it homeschool. Gosh, wish I'd thought of that.
And, I really wish I'd thought of that when I was a kid.