Tiffany Gee Lewis: Socializing our kids to death

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  • 1hemlock Tooele, Utah
    Oct. 31, 2013 6:04 a.m.

    "Most importantly, as a society obsessed with the charismatic leader, we need to take special care that the introverted among us, those quiet children on the corners, don’t get left behind." Unless they want to be.
    At the same time there are folks that in other circumstances would have been more extroverted but were raised in a small community or were apart from others because of moral choices or even obligations (have to work, less play time).
    It is refreshing and "recharging" (?) to be alone an not have something going on all the time.
    I remember some counsel given by President Hiinckley who recommended that people take a three hour break every three months where they just think. No reading, no music or distractions just be alone and think.
    I love the early morning quiet in the house and neighborhood.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 16, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    I wish people would stop casting introverts and extroverts as an irreparable condition that cannot change. If you're happy being introverted, then stay that way and be happy with it. If you're happy being extroverted, then the same thing. But one can transition between those characteristics with time and thoughtful practice... It also requires putting oneself into situations that would otherwise be uncomfortable and learning to cope with it. That's how I was able to open up more, and change my own default nature. And yes, I'm familiar with the definition of both, etc.

    Honestly I've got nothing against people who decide to be introverted, as long as they don't completely withdraw from all human contact, and extroverts who are outspoken as long as they can eventually learn to respect others. IMO, it's a matter of choosing to keep an open mind, not embracing one's nature as hopelessly unchangeable--because too often that's just an excuse to behave badly.

  • John Reading LITTLETON, CO
    Oct. 15, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    I'm a 55-year-old software engineer and closet introvert. During the 5 years I served as word clerk I learned to approach strangers in church to ask for their information, and I have had a long sequence of "extrovert" callings. However, I still treasure time alone. I also bring to the party a healthy dose of depression. How many times have I heard "You can't have depression - you're one of the happiest people I know!"

    Oh, yes, I am also a ham. I may not interact well in a large group, but give me a stage and an audience and you may be surprised at what happens.

    It can be hard, but it really helps if we learn that not everyone responds to any given stimulus the way we do. I am still learning this lesson. Someday in the dim distant future I will be perfect. In the meantime, if I am suddenly quiet in a large group, don't assume something is wrong. I may just have reverted to "introvert" for a few minutes. I'll be back!

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 27, 2013 6:02 a.m.

    I was also one of those kids who used to come home from school and need some time alone in my room to re-energize. My parents thought I was a weird kid due to things like that. At least now I know that it was simply because I'm an introvert.

  • Mona Beaverton, OR
    Sept. 26, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    Liahona is right on--large noisy crowds can be unpleasant for an introvert. If I have to shop, I too go in, get it, and get out. Fast. My extrovert acquaintances learned a long time ago to not bother asking me to go shopping with them, or to big shebangs like festivals or downtown gatherings.

    I come from a long line of introverts. I wish my parents had helped me understand that it was ok for me to be an introvert, but now that I think about it, they probably didn't understand it themselves. Teachers and fellow students made me feel like there was something weirdly wrong with me, because I didn't babble my head off, or join comfortably in groups. On the plus side, I was forced to learn to function in social and group situations, and I can do that easily now when it is required. But I must have frequent solitude to re-charge.

  • ThoughtfulTeen Salem, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 3:28 p.m.

    @Mainly Me
    It's not necessarily that there are more extroverts, it's that they're more out there, making rules. Even if you could make the rules of society, would you? Probably not, because that would involve dealing with people. Extroverts just get out and do more stuff with more people, so people are more in contact with extroverts. Although, I have noticed a lot of my friends are introverts who have been trained to act like extroverts, either because of family pressure or the excessive socialization that's been adopted in schools. I don't think it's good for their mental health because they don't understand introversion and extroversion very well and think that something is wrong with them.

  • liahona Westbank, BC
    Sept. 25, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    Introverts of the world UNITE!! I hate large noisy crowds, won't go to a mall. If I shop, I know what I want, I go get it, and then get out. I even detest going to church, and being around people - they annoy me. I love my solitude where I do most of my thinking and planning.

  • SammyB Provo, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    Great article and comments but I want to speak up for the minority who are like me. I have been confused and conflicted for most of my life until I learned the true meaning of an introvert a couple of years ago. I used to try to tell people that I had a strong shy side but no one believed me. I chatter when I feel uncomfortable socially and I have always needed a great deal of alone time. I am drained by social events.

    The reason people didn't believe I am shy is because I'm not. I finally learned from research that a person can be outgoing and verbally adept but also an introvert. This is a hard dichotomy because the two sides of the person fight each other. With age I have become even more of an introvert and hate crowds. For those few like me, it helps to understand this and makes it easier to incorporate both sides of your nature.

  • PhotoSponge nampa, ID
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    When I went to school, we all had our own desks (lined up in rows) and did our own work, unless there was a SPECIFIC project that required us to have a partner(s). There is ALWAYS someone that does most of the work, while the whole group got "credit" for the project at hand. Not good. It's just another way for the schools to take away the individuality of the child and put them in the whole. Communism 101.

  • chuckelder Prairie Grove, AR
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    Church youth activities are often planned for the extrovert. A quiet youth is put on the spot to do something solo in front of everyone that he or she may find very uncomfortable. The result is that introverted youth may avoid such activities altogether. A prominent church leader once counseled me not to call on people to pray in public without asking the person privately in advance, giving that person the opportunity to decline, or else in doing so we might discourage that person from attending. My son enjoyed football and was quite good at playing on the line but did not want to play a skill position (even though the coaches wanted him to be the kicker) because he did not like the pressure of having a stadium full of eyes upon him for those few seconds he might have the ball. Our efforts as parents and youth leaders should be directed toward involving youth in ways where they can learn and participate and grow in a manner that is best suited for the particular person, rather than orienting each activity only toward the youth who thrive on being the center of attention.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    As a very strong introvert I can strongly relate to what is being said here. Social situation absolutely drain me. I realized I was an introvert at a young age, I loved my paper route because it gave me 2 hours to be by myself and to just think. Even these days I often go hiking alone, most people don't understand why I enjoy going alone, for me that alone time recharges me and helps me be able to face the extroverted world later.

    One of the biggest misconceptions is that introverts don't like to be around people. That is false. We like to be around people just in small intimate groups and in measured doses. Everyone needs human companionship. A loud party with lots of people will just force us to draw into our shells and we will leave the party exhausted and depressed.

    Our culture is definitely geared towards the extrovert. Even in the church we have a very strong extroverted culture. Meetings, activities, callings, even the 3 hour church block can be quite exhausting for an introvert.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    I remember all too well. In the early 1960's, when any kid who didn't join in group activities was considered a misfit, and it was assumed that every little boy should want to be like Mickey Mantle, I was sent to the school psychologist because I didn't care to play softball, preferring imaginary play instead.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:20 a.m.

    I'm an introvert and my parents thought I was one of the strangest kids they'd ever known. I didn't like being around people and as an adult, I still don't like being around people. The problem is that extroverts are the large majority of personality types and consequently, they make the rules regarding what is normal. This is so wrong. People need to be themselves without the pressure of having to conform to some unrealistic social rule.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 7:59 p.m.

    Great article. I know in education there seems to be a push to push cooperative learning and collaborative activities. However, there should be balance and what was said is true, most creativity actually happens in solitude. The problem with too many these days, children and adults alike, is that they don't seek or get that solitude needed to find their creative energy and space.

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    Really good article that communicates what I have thought for years, but never been able to express this well.

    Sept. 24, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    My introverted daughter is now going to high school online and doing so much better. She has a few opportunities to socialize, takes private music lessons, and will graduate in 3 years rather than 4. So glad this mode of education is available to her.