What do you do to try and motivate him? Graham’s babysitter asked me a few weeks back.
“The children were outside playing all afternoon and he just stood on the sidelines for two hours watching them.”
“Graham was too afraid to join in. He’s so shy.”
I am not afraid and I am not shy.
But for perhaps the first time, the image of my Graham, stuck on the sidelines as a result of insecurity and fear rendered me both speechless and scared.
Graham is not shy at home. Graham is a pistol at home. Our house is filled with his happy chatter, his shrieking laughter, his boundless energy.
But outside the confines of our home Graham is different. He clings to me. He buries his face in my leg when people first speak to him. He watches others intently, but seems disconcerted by groups of children that are large or loud or rowdy. He warms up to people slowly and on an individual level.
This is strange for me, being as I am, a bit of a loudmouth. As a child, shockingly enough, I had a tendency to be just a teensy bit bossy. As an adult, I am a big believer in the “fake it ‘til you make it” school of thought.
Not sure you can pull off that bikini? Stand up straight, suck in your stomach and act like you were made to wear it. Worried that everyone at the party is way cooler than you? Crack lots of one-liners and if anyone rolls their eyes, tell yourself it’s because they’re jealous of your quick wit.
It’s called confidence and long before Graham was born I figured out it is probably the single most important attribute a person can possess.
If you have confidence, the world is your oyster. If you believe that you can do something, you can. If you believe you have something to offer people, they will believe that too.
"Graham was too afraid to join in."
But Rob is not a shy adult. He’s never been the guy at the bar cracking wise and leading sing-a-longs, but he has strong opinions and he’s not afraid to speak his mind. He used to say to me “I don’t know how you ended up with me – girls like you usually get scooped up by the loud, flashy guys.”
I know what he means. It was several years before I looked past the loud, flashy guys and recognized the charms of the quieter, more thoughtful ones.
And I’m so glad that I did.
But I’m still scared.
I’m scared that the flashy guys, the loud guys will scoop away important prospects from my shy, precious boy.
I’m scared that wonderful women, potential lifelong friends and valuable business opportunities will pass him by because a lot of people these days don’t take the time to slow down and appreciate the strength and charm of a quieter, more introspective soul.
I can’t help but be scared that Graham may not fully experience all the awesome opportunities life has to offer because he may be too shy to seize them for himself