Picking up from yesterday –
There was a little girl in our reading group who seemed so nice, but I could tell she was really shy. Once we got to craft time, I went and sat by her to see if I could get her to talk more.
We had 4 boys and 1 girl in our group. And every time my reading partners or I asked a question as we read through the books, the boys were all excited about answering right away. But our girl was quiet.
Obviously, that’s never a dynamic I like to see. (I read Lean In, baby!) (But I do believe I would’ve also tried to look after a shy boy. I’m not trying to favor women, just to make people in general feel they deserve to be heard…)
So, in craft time, I went and sat by our girl and started talking to her about school and everything. She was extremely smart and curious about the world. She was wildly well-spoken, and very aware of what was going on in the world around her. Plus she was really open. She told me about how her teachers had conferences with her parents about speaking up more.
I loved that the teachers were looking out for her, and apparently her parents were too, to pass on that information to her. And we talked about her feeling afraid of speaking out. After all, what if she had an answer wrong to a question? (dum, dum, dum *scary chords!*)
I said a lot of the stuff that we hear already all the time on the internet, so who knows if maybe it’s too old hat by now. But, I talked about how some of the most successful people made huge mistakes. I also talked about how if you’re never wrong, then you’re not pushing yourself. Aren’t you in school to learn? So, you can’t possibly know everything already!
I also went through some scenarios with her – “What is the very worst thing that could happen if you answer a question and it’s wrong?” She answered people would laugh at her. “Mmm hmm. And then what?”
We talked about how being laughed at (while quite embarrassing) isn’t the worst thing in the world. We talked about trying to laugh with people instead of allowing them to feel like they’re laughing at you – you get to decide if you’re going to join along.
We even drew a picture of fear holding someone back. We drew a little world and things we knew and were exposed to. Then there was a wall. The wall was fear. Beyond the wall were rocket ships and things we’d never heard of. And we could see all the things we missed out on if we put up a wall of fear.
(If I do say so myself, this was a pretty good on-the-fly picture-making lesson I was doing.)
She got pretty into it and drew a picture of herself with a thought bubble of things she wanted to learn about, but never could if she were too afraid to push herself.
I hope I maybe helped a little, but no matter what, she helped me.
I don’t generally operate under a lot of fear, but every once in a while I still feel it. And now, when I do, I’m gonna think about the picture of that wall and all the stuff I’m keeping myself from if I build my own wall.