Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Brief Anecdote

Today I was assigned to watch the kids during First Hour worship. Though I had a lesson planned out, as I fully suspected, they wanted to go play outside instead of stay indoors and listen to me.

I have to say this: I certainly didn't think I'd end up in a intense political discussion with a third grader and a fourth grader. It was a truly rewarding experience that really made me feel good about the generation coming up after my own. Interestingly enough, according to the children, this year's Presidential Election is being discussed actively and openly in schools, and even among the kids themselves. Granted, these are Quaker kids, and as such inclined to be raised in affluent, politically active families, so I might need to discount this a little. Still, this morning I was thinking to myself that I would have felt very comfortable in this kind of environment when I was in elementary school.

In other esoteria, today I was asked by a visitor to meeting as to whether I was from another country. Quite frequently people think I'm European, which secretly pleases me. If you saw my behavior in public, you'd understand why. I'm more reserved than the average American, more measured in my speech, not as demonstrative or gushy, and more meditative. Smiles are rare, but genuine. The really ironic thing about that is that I'd be far more typically American if I didn't have such tremendous social anxiety. I try to keep my features firm because that's my defense towards feeling so completely uncomfortable in a social setting.


Utah Savage said...

I understand your social anxiety. It's always been hard for me, but I was an actor and had learned how to act appropriately. I can gush with the worst of them, but I'd rather be alone. I live a very solitary and frugal life. My footprint is fairly small for an American. I know that in most of the worlds cultures I would be seen as affluent, but here I'm fairly property rich and unliquid. I have moved to the smallest house possible on my property and rent the main house. The daughter of my heart is the main and controlling tenant and she chooses her housemate. She is in her late twenties. I plan to leave the place to her if I'm not forced to sell. Oddly in this neighborhood, our property value is holding. If McCain wins/steals the election I will seriously consider relocating to a friendlier smarter country.

Glad to hear the children are talking about the election. That's a very good sign.

Sorry for the ramble.

Batocchio said...

The kid perspective can be very interesting. When I was in elementary school, the whole school had a presidential vote with ballots. It was a neat thing to do. As for interactions, everyone has their method for being more comfortable - armor is necessary in some cases, but the trick is being able to drop it when it's not necessary, I think...

P. E. Nolan said...

Quaker kids may come from politically active, economically secure families - the ones at my kid's sleep away camp in VT (Farm & Wilderness) always were.

Frequently, their skits were like promotions for NPR and Independent Media.

The cool thing about working with kids with that kind of background is that these are the children who will grow up to be influential adults. Little by little, the world becomes a better place. Each one teach one, and all that.

You keep fighting the good fight.