Let's Be Old-Fashioned: Character Over Personality

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Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What about your kids?

More and more books that discuss the modern bias against introverts are showing up on my radar. There was this one about introverted pastors. The sections I heard were pretty insightful. And then I revisited an old email about Susan Cain's The Power of Introverts. Someone has plagiarized segments of her book and turned them into a rather dry RSA style animation. I was amazed at the portion about the shift from character to personality. Susan traced cultural changes that led us to focus on appearance over substance.

The implications are all around us. The first that springs to mind are the hordes of reprehensible politicians elected again and again for their smooth speech or party affiliation (and this absolutely happens on both sides). But the book digs deeper than all that. In the end, school, prescriptions, leadership, and decision-making are all negatively impacted by this focus. Susan fleshes some of this out in her TED Talk.

As homeschoolers, we have a tremendous advantage here. In many ways we are "old school" with an emphasis on personal growth, familial ties, and real achievements over satiating our peer's demands for the uniformity of "cool." Character is what matters most in our work, not presentation.

Top Hat and Monocle

The more I thought about the disparity between today's classroom and us, the more I realized how it can be a very good thing that we are old-fashioned. May we never cling to the past simply for the sake of tradition, but may we continue to reap the benefits of wisdom undeterred by the latest fads.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

P.S. I'm an extroverted introvert. I'm loud, confident, outgoing, and don't mind speaking to groups. But I prefer to sit at home, write, and have deep conversations. I can't figure out small talk. I loath "networking." I do fine as the host of a party, but I fade into the wallpaper if I'm a guest. And as much as I enjoy helping people, at the end of the day I'd like to sit alone in front of my computer and "just be." So, in many ways, I've got it pretty good. I'm a highly functional leader with an underlying desire to be alone. This means I have opportunity to be creative while also visible in the public sphere.

How about you?

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