Friday, October 30, 2015

Testing Who We Are

I still like having the actual book.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This book came recommended by several.

Modern societal norms encourages self-assessment. We are given opportunities to make sense of our personalities and our inner core. There are activities and quizzes at work, in school, on teams, from magazines and in books, just to name a few. Some of my favorites include Myers Briggs, Strength Finders, Love Languages and Stand Out. I profess a strong tendency towards the positive psychology movement. The hope is we will be more comfortable with who we are and by sharing this information, our relationships will benefit.

I admit to corralling Commuter Husband, Oldest Son and Youngest Son into many of these exercises in self-exploration. I may have dragged along a colleague or two as well as friends and other relatives.

Tonight, on page 13 of the Introduction in Quiet, there was a unsophisticated questionnaire with twenty statements requesting a true or false response. I called all four family members around the fire and we took it together.


  • Commuter Husband - 18 True
  • Oldest Son - 16 True
  • Youngest Son - 6 True
  • Me - 4 True 
And on page 14 is the statement "The more often you answered "true," the more introverted you probably are."

Commuter Husband and I are well aware of how introvert and extrovert are defined. Oldest Son was also quite knowledgeable of these characteristics which I attribute to a Wellness curriculum at his school and his  voracious reading tendencies. Youngest Son, age thirteen and in 7th grade, had no understanding of the two terms yet.

As a parent of teens, I want to have these conversations with my sons. While I certainly see the benefit of self-understanding, the real lesson I want them to learn is tolerance of those who are different. Obviously, Commuter Husband and Oldest Son will approach the world differently than Youngest Son and myself. How cool that we get this interplay of personalities?! BUT, I also know conflict surfaces among differing personality types. Turning that tension into a positive is completely doable but it takes conscious effort and sincere respect for how a glorious mix of personal qualities paints the world with way more colors ...
Commuter Husband was appalled that I wrote in the book! No surprise that we have different opinions  - ha!

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