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Mom's Time Out

Another school year

Mary Angel

(9/2016) Can you believe that it is time for another school year to begin? Where has the summer gone? Whether we like it or not, summer has ended and the school year has begun. This most educational summer has brought me to my September article. As the school year begins I am motivated to share this summerís education with all of you.

This summer I was blessed to see my childrenís personalitiesí blossom, the two oldest not as much as the youngest. My boys (who are the two oldest) have been developing their personalities for years. One of them is more mature, he is the oldest of all of the kids, and he is the most responsible and a true gentleman. My second oldest is the sporty, jokester. He is the one that is always looking for the good time and still the one with the huge heart. My two youngest are my girls, and they are girly girls. They have always been girly girls and they have always been sensitive, but they are also still developing their personalities as they grow up.

As we went through the summer I realized my girls had something in common that I hadnít noticed before. They are both so very different that I hadnít noticed how introverted they were. My youngest has always been shy. Even as a little girl she wouldnít leave my side. I often have to push her to try new things. She loves to dance and yet every year when it is time for her ballet class to start back up in the fall she gets extremely nervous and starts debating with me whether she wants to go back. Once she gets into the swing of the class she is fine. She is more likely to try new things when she is doing it with her sister or a friend. She is even apprehensive to start her Sunday school class this year because she has to switch to an older class. Even after I reassured her by telling her she would be joining the class her best friend is in (she is a year older than my daughter), she still insisted she couldnít move up to the class.

Her sister, on the other hand, always seemed a little shy but because she was always wearing the most sparkly clothes, talked super loud, and insisted she wanted to be a singer for a living we didnít realize to what extent. She insists that she wants to be a singer when she grows up, but refuses to sing in front of anyone. She is often cracking jokes that make no sense when she feels she is the center of attention. She doesnít want to buy something for herself when we are at a store, she doesnít want to ask questions when she is in a group. She is afraid to make suggestions, even when she is in a group of friends. When she first meets someone she is less likely to speak simply because she gets a case of the nerves.

As I said at the start of this article I had quite the education about my girls and their shyness this summer and in some cases it was truly heart breaking. As a mom, I automatically love my children. Some days they drive me nuts, but I always love them. I love certain special traits about each of them, something that makes them unique. That love means I donít understand when someone doesnít like my child or treats them mean or simply doesnít embrace their uniqueness. This summer we had the opportunity to go to a friendís house for a pool party. When we arrived there was a family already in the pool. The other mom and I introduced ourselves and our children and found out that my youngest and her oldest were about the same age. My daughter said hi when prompted and then got in the pool. The other little girl didnít seem to be interested in playing with her and although my daughter was interested she was just too shy to pursue the friendship. Soon another family showed up and they too had a girl about the same age as my youngest. After some more introductions the other two little girls sparked a friendship and became quite inseparable for the rest of the day. My daughter mustered up the strength to ask to play with them two times but to no avail.

Similarly my oldest daughter was at a function with a bunch of other middle school girls and attempted to start up a conversation. Very nervously she started to tell a joke but the nerves got the best of her and by the end the joke made no sense. She was quite mortified when someone announced that her joke was dumb and retreated back inside herself. Luckily one of her close friends eventually showed up and she once again came out of her shell a bit, but wouldnít attempt for the rest of the evening to try and make new friends.

By now you might be asking yourself what all of this has to do with starting the new school year. Well, I will tell you. My hope is that you have a talk with your children. If they are shy maybe you will get them to step out of their shell a little bit. More importantly, though, if they are not shy and you explain to them about shy children maybe they might help the kids around them. If you just get them to understand that just because a child doesnít talk to other kids, it probably isnít because they are "stuck up" or conceited, or rude, maybe it is simply that they are shy. If a child in their class seems awkward, maybe it is just because they are so nervous to meet new people that they become something they are not. My hope is that just one out-going child will meet one shy child and a beautiful friendship will begin!

Read other articles by Mary Angel