I grew up thinking I was shy. It was a natural conclusion to draw because whenever I’d be in a situation where I felt uncomfortable—particularly when I was expected to interact with someone, I hardly knew—someone inevitably would say, “Ohhhh, she’s shy.” Or, worse, they’d directly ask me, “Are you shy??”
(Pro-tip: Asking someone who is feeling shy whether or not they’re shy makes the person feel less comfortable, not more.)
Being the shy person that I was, it made very little sense why I would go to college to study journalism, a profession in which I had to talk to multiple strangers a day, often about difficult or controversial topics. Until I realized that I’m not “shy,” I’m just introverted. To be around a lot of people for a long time drains me, but I do actually like meeting and interacting with new people.
That’s because, as writer Bob Riley says on his blog, shyness is a feeling, not a trait.
You may feel shy; that does not mean you are shy. And yet when a kid is hiding behind her mother’s legs at the family reunion, we all can’t seem to help ourselves. We simply MUST say SOMETHING about the kid who should be running around and gleefully greeting all of these extended family members (strangers) like the other kids.
It’s okay; you can say something. You can say, “Oh, she must be feeling quite right now.” If you want to take your kindness one step further, you might add, “I understand; I feel quiet sometimes, too.”
Because at some point, we all feel shy and the best thing to help us overcome that shyness is for the people around us to meet us where we’re at, not call us out and label us in a way that could prove hard to shake.
Okay, I can’t guarantee the happiness promise, but a recent article called “Science says parents of successful kids have these 13 things in common” published in Tech Insider does list chores as one factor that might lead to children’s success as adults. They quote author Julie Lythcott-Haims (How to Raise an Adult) as praising chores because it teaches kids that they “have to do the work of life to be part of life.”
Let’s look at the benefit of chores a little more deeply (and I will put forth my not-scientifically-proven theory on why it also makes kids happier).
1. Doing Chores Raises Self Esteem
Self Esteem is confidence about one’s worth and abilities. Little kids may not have learned to read, and older kids may be struggling with long division or quadratic equations, but most kids can learn to make their beds and sweep the floor. Are these worthwhile tasks? Of course, they are. And it is much easier for a child to understand the usefulness of a clean level than to grasp where algebra is going to work for them in their lives. Kids who feel capable and competent have higher self-esteem. Chores are one area most kids can develop competency relatively quickly.