When I was a child I was painfully shy, even timid, just like my father.
There was day in grade two that I needed to deliver a book to my sister in her class. We went to a very small school, and the errand should have taken about three minutes.
I got to her classroom and waited 15 minutes for class to end, because I was too afraid to knock on the door.
I returned to my own class, in trouble for taking so long, yet I was too shy to tell the teacher that I was too shy to knock.
Years later, training for my blue belt, Sensei told us, “You have to assist teaching a class, here’s the sign up sheet.”
I had all sort of excuses ready to go in order to get out of it, and tried them all, all of which boiled down to, “I’m too shy to teach.”
Short version? I ended up assisting the yellow and orange belt adult class, and had the time of my life.
That class was my first step down the road to overcoming shyness, and I was so successful that when I tell people I’m shy, they simply don’t believe me.
Nowadays I see this shyness, this timidity, in my own boys, even my seemingly bold-as-brass nine year old youngest. Recently at a volleyball tournament he hurt himself contorting his body reaching around another school’s teacher, who was blocking his water bottle. He was too shy to excuse himself to get past.
If I knew at nine what I learned in my 20s, my life might have been very different. It also might not, because I am quite happy with my decisions, but it would have been nice to have the choice.