When you’re a parent, especially a homeschooling parent like me, you get constant lectures about making sure your kids have friends and meet “social standards”… whatever that means. I posted about introverts awhile back, after reading Grace Coddington’s memoirs and realizing how much I identified with her when she was talking about her creative process and how she prefers a relaxing night at home to being out at “glamorous” parties. Anna Wintour actually had to pull rank more than once to get her to go to certain parties.
Personally, I’m in favor of taking time to be solitary. This is not the same as being anti-social or unable to participate in society. It is actually something that only strong people are able to do, because it takes being comfortable with yourself and alot of independence to be able to function alone. I want to teach my children to get along with their friends, yes, but I also want to teach them that it is NOT good to get their validation from others, or to be unable to enjoy life unless they are surrounded by people.
I think this concept is especially important for creative types. I need to be solitary every now and then to recharge, to dream, to play creatively, and to maintain my independence and strength. There is a time to collaborate and absorb inspiration from the world around us, and there is a time to be by ourselves to process it and concentrate on our work. In my opinion, people who don’t know how to simply enjoy being by themselves, completely immersed in a creative passion, are missing some of the best moments in life.
As for my kids, here’s an interesting note – as homeschoolers, they are actually exposed to a much larger view of the world than they ever were when they were in private school. They have classes and social things at a variety of places, with a variety of people. They are more solitary in some ways, and in others, their entire world opened up when I started homeschooling them. For me, a very happy by-product of a decision made for other reasons.
I am posting about this because we don’t hear much praise for being solitary. We are pressured to always be “on”, and to force our kids to always be “on” too. Despite the fact that some of the most talented, creative, and successful people are introverts, being one still seems to carry a bad rap. So I am just putting it out there – there is nothing wrong with being an introvert, and if you want to be a happy introvert, don’t be afraid to balance your social side with a little solitude when you need it!
7 thoughts on “In Praise of Solitude”
What a terrific post! I couldn’t agree more. It’s interesting to hear you say that your children are exposed to MORE things now that you homeschool them. I’ve heard others say this as well.
Thank you! Yes, that has been my experience, although going into it, I had no idea that would be the case.
Thank you for this!
People are always so confused when I’d rather spend the night a home with my knitting, a good movie, and a mug of tea. But I really do enjoy it, and, it’s when I’m the most creative. 🙂
You’re welcome! I knew knitters would understand! 🙂 Although I do think this applies to so many people, not just knitters.
Great post! I did not homeschool but my sister in law did. I remember asking her about the social aspect and her response, “who do you want teaching your kids social skills…..you or thirty little kids on the schoolyard?” She was so right.
If my sons or their wives ever decide to homeschool my grandkids I will be their biggest supporter. And yes it is good for children and people to learn how to be alone rather than constantly entertained.
Thank you so much! Homeschooling really is what you make it – there are so many people doing it now, it is completely different from when I was growing up. There are alot of resources and I have found I actually have to be careful not to overbook myself and the kids… unfortunately, children sometimes just get crushed on the school yard – they don’t always learn, they just get bullied… one of my childrens’ teachers even told me once that in her many years of teaching, she’d noticed that certain personalities, typically more shy, introverted types, tend to get picked on even more, which ends up making them more shy and introverted instead of teaching them to be social.
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Homeschooling is not common in my country though people are talking of it more and more because of the teachers strike that has become elastic with no idea of when it will end.