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Monday, December 12, 2011

Socializing During Holidays


Some of our children are social butterflies and others no so much.  Holidays, with all the extra fun and excitement, all the extra visits with friends and family, all the out of the ordinary activity can cause some of us to be excited and some of us to want to hide behind a book or retreat to a room.

I have been thinking about this for a while.  Personally, I am rather introverted. All those personality tests come back as Introvert.   I love holiday celebrations, but they also cause me to retreat for energy.
A few of us are this way.  One of our girls in particular gets overwhelmed with too much activity and needs to retreat with a good book and a cup of coffee. :)

I  wonder how many children and adults stress out at this time of year because they are required to put on a happy face and kiss Aunt Ethyl under the mistletoe, smile at all the silly jokes, smile in front of all the guests they have never met, and have conversation, when this is something that is a struggle in everyday life?
Christmas should not become a litmus test of success if you attend every function and smile nicely or failure if you really need to go for a long walk ALONE. :)

Alone times can be refreshing for the person who is more contemplative and introverted.  The one who retreats does not love Aunt Ethyl less than the one who smiles and sits on her lap and lets her squeeze their cheeks!  They just need personal space, and I really think that should be respected.

Our personalities are all different, and different things excite one and cause dread for another. 
So where is the proper line, if you have a wall flower in your home, or if YOU are that wall flower?

Honestly, I don't know.  I think taking part in celebration is a good thing.  But if our kids get overwhelmed, we should have an escape for them, so they can relax and regroup.
If a celebration is taking place in your own home, I would not hesitate to let my wall flower retreat to her room for a time of rest and reading.  If we are at another person's home, I would not be the last person to leave the party, but be sensitive to the needs of everybody; don't leave first, don't leave last. 
I would also encourage the children to stretch just a little to try new experiences and see if they like them.

We did that with the recent concert we went to. Two of our girls were not excited about going, but once they got there, they had a wonderful time.  However tonight, there was a piano recital to attend.  I didn't force anybody to go.  It would have been nice, but honestly , we can't attend everything. I took Erika and let her stay while I went home and did other things and then picked her back up. :)  It worked out great for everybody.  I wasn't especially feeling social tonight either.

I think what I am trying to say is, that there is nothing wrong with a person who just isn't that social or gets stressed with too much social activity.  Everybody should welcome their guests and be friendly.... but they should also be allowed to be themselves, even if that means, retreating for awhile, away from the crowd and noise.

Holidays are for everybody, and we should be able to express our joy as individually as God has made us. :)



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