Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introvert Superhero Parents

Introverted Parenting Week - Day 4
A couple of notes: 
First, due to the exuberance of my guest bloggers and the huge numbers of visitors this series has received, Introverted Parenting Week will extend through Sunday. 

Second, today's guest post, written by Kristi Cash White, is in some cases referring to what's called "a highly sensitive person." Many HSP's are introverts, but not all. HSP's, among other things, are extremely sensitive to light, sound, and smell. For more about highly sensitive people, check out this description or for further reading, check out Elaine Aron's book, The Highly Sensitive Person.

About the author: 
Kristi Cash White is a play therapist and counselor with a private practice in Portland, OR. She also was the subject of one of my most popular interviews, when she and I talked about the strengths that introverts bring to the field of counseling. You can find her at her website and on Twitter. 

Introverts of the World Unite! will be the words splashed across the posters that I staple to the corner streetlights, covering the posters for last week's punk indie grunge band. But, wait, introverts really don't want to unite, since that kind of goes against our whole, you know, way of being...Instead, maybe we need to have some type of underground secret society. No meetings. No crowded cocktail receptions [shudder]...Maybe we could at least come up with a secret handshake?..Or we could all get a similar tattoo?...

A less than flattering trait shared by introverts is that we, as a whole, seem ashamed of personality type of which we have been given. We sit at the side in class and marvel at those gregarious friendlies who flit from person to person, throwing their heads back in laughter, apparently totally at ease. We wonder in bewilderment how our spouses can stay so cheerful as they engage at another office party (while we do our best to just endure). We give in to our silly American society that says that being outgoing is better! As if!

Being an introvert is a gift that should be wholeheartedly honored and celebrated. We have so much to offer the world! But introverted parents - how do we even survive? Quite well actually, because of our superpower - extra heightened senses.

As my son walks through the door and kicks off his shoes that he wore with no socks (even though we tell him to every. single. day.), it takes only about 1.26 nanoseconds for the stench to penetrate the delicate nose hairs that do very little to protect my industrious olfactory senses. This nose can be used to find which backpack holds the banana that was not released from its clutches earlier in the week, as well as if my four-year-old decided to use mommy's hair products in her gorgeous locks.

I can use my heightened vision to spot the earring back that my ten-year-old dropped, or, with the most sensitive peripheral vision, catch the glint from the wrapper of the forbidden chocolate my son attempts with stealth to partake. Although I may often be heard to say, "MY EARS ARE BLEEDING!" from all of the noise that my household produces in any given moment, these bionic-like appendages can distinctly hear if the cry from my child four blocks away is one of joy, anger, or pain. I also probably clearly heard who really "started it" despite the fingers pointing in every which direction.

Do you see? What amazing gifts we have been given! Not only are we blessed with the physical talents over which others (*cough*extroverts!) must writhe in envy, we can use those special abilities to be attuned with our children in powerful and unique ways. We can listen - really listen - to our children. As chaos begins to circle, we can be a voice of calm and reason. Through our empathic observations of our children, their peers, and their friends' families, we will be called upon to minister and bless. We can demonstrate by example the Biblical concepts of rest, quiet, and solitude.

So don your capes, fellow introvert superheroes! Stand tall and be proud! Our God-given personality type is a gift and a blessing - especially to our children.

Now, how about that tattoo?