The first time I ever had the experience of sitting on a jury, I was tortured. I had questions, comments, feedback, and witty repartee to offer; yet I was not allowed to speak.
I was once a fairly shy and quiet kid, and even into young adulthood my tendency was to hold my tongue. This propensity must have changed gradually as I matured and became an educated and experienced adult (stop laughing). There was no single defining moment when I spoke up and received signs from heaven that this was my destiny, all I know is that I now find it almost physically impossible to keep my mouth shut when I have an opinion.
I imagine that this is a good thing, I always tell my kids to speak up or others will speak for them. When I think of the qualities I admire in people, at least theoretically, verbal acuity is highly ranked.
However, when I think of the people I deal with in work, life, and especially at my kids’ school on a day to day basis, I become concerned that I have become one of those moms.
You know, the one who has something to say about everything, who always needs clarification on the expectations of an assignment, who always questions the mysteries of the report card, who is always the first to answer surveys and give feedback and generally make it so that my opinion is as good as plastered across my forehead.
It's not that I'm complaining - at least not all of the time. I make it a point never to articulate my perception of a problem without also suggesting a workable solution. But I am rarely silent. I rarely let it be, rarely just wait it out. I have to speak my mind.
But that doesn't mean I go around talking to people all of the time, I hardly have time for that sort of nonsense. E-mail has become an enabling tool for perpetually rushed, non-confrontational bigmouths like me. This is good because it allows me to work through my initial reaction before I formulate and articulate a response. But it’s bad because when my words are delivered in writing, the reader does not experience the buffering effects of body language, eye contact, or clarifying questions. And when there is no response to my e-mail, there's no response to my issue.
Is it better to let things sit? To rely on human nature and assume that others will come to realization about whatever the thing is that I want them to realize? I find that I just can’t do it.