I am an introvert by definition, although I probably fall somewhere in between introvert and extrovert. I have learned to be more extroverted and God is stretching my little world, but I still don't like to walk up to strangers, I hate making phone calls - what if they ask me something I don't know?!?, and you will find me quiet and submissive when in the presence of a domineering personality. God definitely decided to challenge this part of me when he blessed me with our first-born, Evelyn. Although she shares many of my qualities and traits (some not so pleasant), she is NOT an introvert.
And yet, I have found myself trying to squeeze her into an introverted box. Partly because it is what I know and what I am comfortable with. But also partly because I have had this idea that she should be an introvert. I imagine this meek little girl that sits so nicely and is always quiet, speaks only when spoken to ...and that is NOT my Evelyn. The truth is - that is not me, either! She is more of an Anne of Green Gables, we actually like to call her that. She is adventurous and imaginative and someone just might write a book about her someday - maybe she will! She sounds like someone I would want to know! So why was I trying make her an introvert? Why would want to squash that spirit?
Because I got into my (crazy?) mind that extroversion was somehow a weakness. Especially in the evangelical homeschooling world, it seemed (to me) that all the little girls were so prim and proper. But my girl - she does not shyly sit on the sideline - she commands attention. She would most likely stand up in front of all those other girls and plan an elaborate dramatic presentation complete with costumes and dragons and brave knights...and brave princesses too!
But God began to speak to my heart about this amazing little girl he had entrusted in my care. This was not about behavior - she is well behaved, will follow directions and obey the rules (most of the time!). This was about her very nature. The unique tapestry that God had woven together when he formed her in my womb. He gave her imagination and creativity and leadership skills. He has a plan for her life, and it is my job to foster and encourage the gifts that God has blessed her with. I had to stop thinking that she needed to change, and start celebrating who she already is.
Of course there are aspects of her personality that need some training and molding, just as we all do. But I began to look at her strengths. She has strong convictions and is not afraid to speak her mind about them. Even when she is the minority. It was time for me to STOP comparing her to anyone else. Of course I knew that I would never want to compare her to others, and yet I still found myself doing that. It was time for me to stop looking at those prim and proper girls (who aren't perfect, anyway) and start looking closer at the heart of my daughter. What I see there is a brilliant masterpiece of God's hand - the kind of heart that might change the world someday. And, I get to be her mom!
How has God stretched you in your parenting?