Introvert, Parenting

The Leader of the Shy Kids

The Leader of the Shy Kids

“He’s come out of his shell a bit since the first day of school. Actually, my other quiet, shy kids are drawn to him. They’ll talk to him when they won’t talk to anyone else.”

Wedged into a tiny kindergarten-sized seat, terrified of showing London and France to the teacher, I wanted to fall out of the seat in shock. I physically couldn’t but the feeling was there.

“He’s the leader of the shy kids.”

My Sean? The leader? Part of me was bursting with pride. The other part was confused.

She explained that when they had questions, they went to him first. His group was often in “trouble” for talking during lessons. These shyer, quieter kids would whisper to Sean, pulling him into silliness and giggles. So she gave him a job.

“I told him when one of his friends talk to him during the lesson, he needs to turn to them with his finger on his lips to let them know to be quiet.”

He does it. And they listen to him.

During group work, these kids come to Sean for help. He did so well in pre-K last year that many of the skills they’re learning right now are easy for him. They’re more comfortable with him than anyone else, so he helps them.

He has a best friend – another shy child who wouldn’t make eye contact or speak on Meet-the-Teacher Day just like Sean. Now, apparently, his parents hear all about Sean, every single day. “Sean wears pants to school, so I want to wear pants. Sean wore red today so I want to wear red.”

Part of me beams with pride. Part of me is completely baffled. (One, why don’t I get to hear about the BFF?? And two, how did I not see this before?)

Until I remembered my kids are polar opposites.

Aidan is a follower. He wants to be liked. He wants to fit in. He wants everyone to be his friend. Right now, there’s no harm in any of it, and he’s finding the right crowd. His need to be liked isn’t outweighing his own sense and what John and I have tried to instill in him.

Over the next few years, I’ll watch out for him as much as possible. Hopefully, his gregariousness and his ability to follow will find him in good company. If not, well, we’ll deal with that.

As his total opposite, of course Sean is a leader. He doesn’t do things just because he’s “supposed to” – unless he’s afraid of getting into trouble (and only when I become “Mean Mommy”). He really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. He’d rather do what feels right to him.

I fell into the trap of thinking that shy introverts aren’t leaders, and I know that’s not true. Of course they are. They’re usually just quieter about it.

While I need to watch Aidan to make sure he doesn’t follow someone down a bad path, I know I need to watch Sean to make sure he uses his power for good instead of evil.

In the meantime, I can’t get over the idea of my little introvert leading a pack of shy kindergartners.

Michaela Mitchell Visit Website
Storyteller. Writer. Introvert. Mom. Sarcastic, caffeine-fueled, type-A, over-thinker.
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