“That girl is going to be my friend,” my five-year-old declares as we find our seats in the school cafeteria before my son’s first-grade shoebox float parade.
And with that, Lexie goes over to the little girl and introduces herself. Morgan seems a little unsure of the outgoing girl before her but within minutes, the two are sitting together talking.
I love that Lexie has this attitude. Every little girl is her friend as far as she is concerned. In fact, while standing in line for a ride at Six Flags, she gets invited by another girl to sit with her. By the end of the ride, they are already making plan together as if they have known each other for months rather than minutes.
As much as I love this attitude, I don’t know where it comes from. Neither my husband nor I are outgoing. I am not the type to go up and introduce myself. At a party, I will be the one hanging out in the background, observing everyone else. (Hopefully, all the observing is beneficial to my writing.)
I have always been slow in making friends. I don’t tend to open up and talk about myself to very many people. I contribute some of that to my childhood. My father was in the Air Force, and we moved a lot when I was little. I was always the new student. I think that helped reinforce my shyness.
My son, Jase, is very much like me. He is the type that needs to observe and analyze before he takes action. He needs time before he feels comfortable with new people, situations or experiences. For the first two years of preschool (ages 3 & 4), he barely spoke to the teacher. This shy attitude was part of what convinced us to hold him back from Kindergarten. By the time he finished his Gift of Time class, he was more outgoing. As I write this, he is playing with some boys he met at Lexie’s dance class. On the first day, they approached him because he was playing a video game. It took him a class or two, but now he looks forward to playing with these boys. In fact, they all bring Legos and have a blast playing together.
But if the tables were turned, Lexie would have been the one approaching the other kids on the first day. She is definitely not shy. In fact, she will talk to anyone, often non-stop as if everyone is thrilled to hear what she has to say.
Of course, this outgoing, friendly attitude has me concerned about her talking to strangers when I am not with her. This is an issue that has not come up, but we will definitely be having some discussions about strangers in the next month to prepare her for the summer’s activities. I want to instill rules such as not going off with any of these new friends, but I don’t want to necessarily change her wonderful outgoing, positive attitude that others should want to be her friend. As with everything, it is a balance act.