Introverts gaining more notice

?Our (summer camp) counselor gathered us all together and she taught us a cheer that we would be doing every day to instill camp spirit?R-O-W-D-I-E, that?s the way we spell rowdie, rowdie, let?s get rowdie. I couldn?t figure out for the life of me why we were supposed to be so rowdie. Or why we had to spell this word incorrectly.? ?Susan Cain

?Out there things can happen, and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.?

?And when things start to happen, don?t worry, don?t stew. Just go right along, you?ll start happening, too!?

?I will not eat them in a house, I will not eat them with a mouse.?

?How did it get so late so soon? It?s night before it?s afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon??

Can you imagine childhood?or adulthood?without these Dr. Seuss words? When I was 22, I left a position in a college registrar?s office to embark on what had been my dream, working at a newspaper.

My coworkers presented me with a copy of Dr. Seuss?s ?Oh The Places You?ll Go,? with the front and back end sheets covered in signatures and well wishes from every department on campus. It was a special gift that started the eventual Dr. Seuss collection I would have and repeatedly read to my kids. As a parent who recited them for years, I can attest that his wise words don?t lose meaning with age; they simply turn into affirmations.

For all of the people he touched through stories, Dr. Seuss wrote them at his home, secluded in a bell tower. It was said he never wanted to meet the kids who read his books. He had a very specific reason, according to Susan Cain, author of a book called ?Quiet.? Fear of measuring up. He was afraid they would expect him to be a jolly Santa-like figure and he would disappoint them with his reserved persona.

Extroversion is encouraged and I would argue favored, in most situations. It?s expected and often rewarded. But that leaves nearly half of the population?where?

Sometimes, it leaves them stuck, looking for a back door to slip out, a quiet corner to catch their breath, and on a good day, someone who senses it without judgment and gives them some space.

Thanks to people like Susan Cain, who?s on a clear mission to level the playing field between introverts and extroverts, the stigma is lifting. But in some situations, it can be viewed as a defect or underdevelopment. The ?How to Win Friends and Influence People? era saw to that. The preference in businesses, schools and socializing was to be as charismatic and as expressive as possible.

?Fake it ?til you make it? was born. Almost anyone can fake it for a while, but why? Should we have to? Why would we want to?

Maybe we should begin by understanding what introvert and extrovert mean. It?s not about being shy, unsocial or either/or. These can be related, but are a different situation. It?s about recharging. Introverts need solitude and downtime. Extroverts need stimulation and activity.

There are debates on how to design school classrooms to encourage independent and group work equally, and for offices in order to balance creativity (which sometimes demands solitude) and teamwork equally. That?s good?let the planning continue.

But when a third to a half of those involved politely decline, or slip out early, let that continue, too. Ideas and progress come at all paces and volumes. Dr. Seuss presented the value of both sides. He created in solitude, then presented through publishing.

Good thing. Where would we be without his quips that remind us of the all-important truth: ?You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.?

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree?press.com.

Tags from the story
Written By
More from Shelley Plett
Finding ways to ease the ache
“I can choose pieces of my life in which to puzzle together,...
Read More