Jack started soccer on Friday - just a half hour, once a week, 2 and 3 year old class - enough for him to learn to listen to a coach, take some direction, experience some semblance of a structured environment, learn to play with other kids and get some energy out before bed. As his little personality develops, I have been well aware that Jack is a friendly extrovert - he will say hi to anyone at anytime, roll down his window to say hi to the next car over, he will shake hands, he will high five, he knows not an iota of what "stranger danger" might imply. But this is the first time I have seen him in a "class-like" setting and oh my goodness - my kid is that kid - the kid who runs right up to the front of the room (in this case the soccer field), who raises his hand whether he knows the answer or not, who thinks the teacher/coach is speaking only to him, who may perhaps monopolize the conversation. Oh jeez. This is not a character assassination of my son, I realize he is going to be a very high energy, super smart, eager extrovert. My problem is - I have no idea how to relate to this or to parent this.
I am your classic INTJ...I have tested high on the introvert scale since forever. Every.single.one. of my elementary school report cards - actually some of my college evals also - say "Very intelligent but doesn't participate" or "Jamie knows all of the material but needs to speak up more often". During a business school retreat, we took the Meyers-Briggs test again and then separated ourselves by how we landed on the scale... let's just say I was an island unto myself. Everyone stared at me like I was a bug - I don't know that my teacher had ever had anyone that high (or low I guess) on the "I" scale in business school. I've learned to deal with it, and I've learned to be "extroverted" in certain situations - I'm a great public speaker when I know my subject, I can man a booth at a conference and answer questions like nobody's business. I can run meetings, give speeches, presentations, etc. But put me at a party where I don't know anyone and I will quite contentedly sit in the corner observing everyone else for hours. I don't answer questions unless I know the answer. Being in a roomful of people physically drains me. I am more than happy to go anywhere by myself.
As prospective parents do, we wondered what Jack's personality and demeanor would be like before he was born. My husband often spoke about the sports he would play and the activities he would involve himself in...I would input "Maybe he will be happy to sit in his room and read a book, you never know." Well...the answer is glaringly obvious - my kid is that kid, the kid who intimidated me when I was young with their seemingly effortless bravado and swagger and confidence - and this introverted mama has to learn quickly how to parent a strong extrovert. They are sent here to teach us, aren't they?