When I was about eleven years old I made the mistake of telling my parents I wanted to go to Summer Camp. That's what you get from reading too many Enid Blython novels.
My parents, excited that fínally I wanted to do something besides reading while reading chocolate, dropped what they were doing and before I knew it I was enlisted in a residential Summer Camp. As the number of days till my departure dwindled, my sense of trepidation grew. And once I got to Summer Camp I lasted only two and a half days. Then I fell off my bike. An accident I grabbed hold of as a reason to go home. Immediately.
What I remember of those two and a half days, are lots of 'fun activities'. And after the fun activities, there were some more fun activities. And I was homesick during all of them. The only time I felt better, was at night, when the fun activities finally stopped and we had to go to bed. Then I rejoiced in the peace and quiet of my bunk bed.
Now I'm a mom of five kids, and one of the things teachers keep bringing up is their concern that my kids aren't 'outgoing' enough. 'Do they have enough playdates?' they worriedly ask me. 'Do you offer them enough after school activities so they can interact with their peers?'
Their worry was starting to rub off on me.
But after reading Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking I look at these things differently. My kids and I are simply introverts in a world where being an extravert has become the norm.
Suddenly I don't have to feel guilty or boring anymore, because I hate crowded parties. And suddenly it makes sense amusement parks remind me of hell. I'm an introvert, like about half the world's population. I would like to shout it from the roof tops, on the melody of Helen Reddy's song 'I am woman hear me roar': 'I am an introvert, hear me roar.'
But introverts don't roar.
And whenever my kids ask me about Summer Camp, I ask thém: 'Have you been reading Enid Blython?!'