I never saw this one coming.
You have to understand that my son has always been shy. You know the type. Can’t ask a store clerk for help. Won’t walk across the room because “people will look at me.” In public, he has always withdrawn into a safe, quiet mode. Having a book or Nintendo DS handy to hide inside are high on coping strategy list. It’s been dubbed his “alone cone.” Sure, at home, he may be the life of the party, but around anyone he’s known less than 3/4 of his life, forget it.
Then something strange happenned. Well, a series of events really, but if you don’t understand how shy the kid was, the rest of it won’t matter to you. Surf on to another blog. 🙂
Recognizing a great interest for science in him (particularly the mad scientist kind), we started a robotics club. He met a number of like-minded goofy, fun, bright (and yes, a little nerdy) friends. They had a blast.
Recognizing a bit of a ham in his little sister, I signed her up to perform in a musical production of 101 Dalmatians. (That’s another benefit of homeschooling – the ability to completely rearrange your academic schedule at any point to accomodate huge time-consuming opportunities as they arise…but I digress).
The shy kid sees the goofy kid performing on stage. One of those nerdy scientist kids is also in the play, making the comic relief part (you remember the dumb sidekicks Horace and Jasper, right?) look like more fun than an army of flying monkeys. The evil green kind. The audience roars with laughter at his silly antics. And suddenly, the shy kid puts his brain in gear. You can see the clogs turning. You can hear them turning, too, because being a teenager, the cogs are kinda rusty and squeaky.
Hmmmm. 1. It’s possible to be into science and fine arts. 2. It’s possible to act like a complete moron and have people approve of you. 3. It’s possible to make complete strangers laugh just the way you make your little brother and close friends laugh. 4. Maybe having people look at you isn’t necesssarily a bad thing.
And this is the part I never saw coming. He’s been bitten by the drama bug. My son – the shy one, the “people will see me!” one, the one I had to threaten with public humiliation before he’d introduce himself to new people a few years ago – he’s hamming it up with abandon in front of a group of kids in a drama class (some of them, gasp!, complete strangers). He’s poring over a script. He’s yearning to be on stage in front of a huge audience.
I can only relate to the school environment I grew up in. The shy kids pretty much stayed shy. The outgoing, popular kids stayed outgoing and popular. Once your personality was cast, you didn’t get to change because too many people knew your baggage and receognized you for who they expected you to be. I love that my children can choose to try new activities and reshape their personalities to incorporate new events and new opportunities.
I wonder where the road will lead next.