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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Being Fair

In a casual conversation few days ago, I asked Avi (my older one, 14 yrs old), what is the one thing in the world around that bothers him that he wants to change. I was expecting to hear something like poverty, child labor, pollution etc., He said, the fact that not everyone's ideas are heard equally, that not everyone seems to get an equal chance. I was confused and taken aback as to where this was coming from and probed him more. He gave examples of how in school he sees that mostly it is the ideas or voices of the kids who are either academically doing very well and/or popular/annoying in some way, get heard and given chances. He goes on to qualify that actually, even if you are academically good but not as pompous or popular, chances are you are not heard. I further asked him why this seems to bother him so much? He said because of this, more often than not, it is not the best people or best ideas that are getting the push but, the pushy ones that are getting the push. I was able to connect some dots because few weeks earlier when he was contesting for the Class Prefect position, I asked him what is this one trait in his character that he thinks qualifies him to be a good class prefect and he immediately said “I always try to be fair and balanced, I will not favor a friend and will do what is right for the entire class”. So, being fair seems like something that is important to him. I was actually not sure how to guide him from here. I asked him to think more about how people like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates who were really not that good academically, but eventually got their ideas to be noticed. So, I asked him to think if there was anything else these kids who are brilliant but, a little shy or introverted can do to grab the opportunity instead of waiting to be noticed or heard. I gave him ideas like, can they put their ideas into action in a smaller scale, perhaps build a simple prototype to get their point across? I also asked him to think what he specifically could do to change this and he just said "But, Mom like you said "life is not always fair" so, I guess that is the way it is." We ended the conversation there but, I have been thinking about this and there is something about this that is bothering me.

I don't want him to settle down thinking life is not fair but, at the same time accept that in this world the one who markets himself/herself will certainly get heard first but, for others there are still avenues to go about letting their work speak for themselves. I also want him to have this self-awareness and perhaps apply it to pick the right career path for himself. How do I guide this child who is mostly an introvert, not lose his self esteem in this world that seems biased towards the extroverts? By the way, one of the books he liked a lot and said he connected with it a lot is Quiet - The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking


Johnson said...

We had a blind professor for our capstone class in Business administration. His grades completely based on class discussions and written reports on Harvard Business journals. If you did not participate in the class discussion you wouldn't pass his class. Many introverts thought he will eventually change his policy on grading, but sad to say many of them had to drop out and delay their graduation for another semester. The professor insisted that if you can't speak in a class setting, you have no business being in a Business degree! He was the best thought provoking professor I ever had. Sometimes life isn't fair to introverts.

Johnson said...

I also truly believe that introvertism isn't a a personality trait, rather a coping mechanism to go along in an environment where many don't seems to share the same ideals. An introvert could turn into an extrovert in the right environment or among like kindness peers. His transplantation from the states and the street over smartness on the boys born their might have something to do with the introvertness. He could easily grow out of it eventually. I wouldn't focus too much on it or label him as one...

vasantha said...

Thanks Johnson for your perspective and suggestions

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