little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace


In the quiet of the evening as summer storms make their mark on my windowpane and water our thirsty earth, I am thinking about the power of quiet – both in the soft silence that surrounds, but also the book I have just finished by the same name:  Quiet by Susan Cain.  The subtitle of this notable read is The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and it had this introvert hooked and fascinated.

Cain suggests that an introvert is the person “who recognizes him or herself somewhere in the following constellation of attributes:  reflective, cerebral, bookish, unassuming, sensitive, thoughtful, serious, contemplative, subtle, introspective, inner-directed, gentle, calm, modest, solitude-seeking, shy, risk-averse, thin-skinned.”  In contrast, an extrovert is “ebullient, expansive, sociable, gregarious, excitable, dominant, assertive, active, risk-taking, thick-skinned, outer-directed, lighthearted, bold, and comfortable in the spotlight.”

Cain admits that certainly not everyone is simply one or the other, but rather a complex collage of a medley of these traits.

This book intrigued me for many reasons (and not just because I saw vulnerable parts of myself between many of the pages), as it brought to light our cultural perceptions of introverts and extroverts and our need for better balance.  We live in a noisy, overstimulated world that needs to be reminded more and more of the importance of listening, being still, and making room for silence.  As human beings, we need to better understand each other, and the best way to do that is to listen and think deeply before we respond or offer our opinion.

Furthermore, as a teacher, this book has helped me to better consider the myriad of personalities and gifts in the little beings that enter our space every day.  Not every one thrives on collaboration, one of our 21st century buzz words. Sure, teamwork is important, but there needs to also be time for independent work and deliberate thought and practice by oneself.

Here are a few other ideas Cain puts forth, which I hope compel you to read this important book (you’re welcome to borrow my copy):

1. How our society has shifted from placing importance on one’s character to one’s personality (20th century phenomenon)

2.  The power of listening

3.  Quiet leadership (NOT an oxymoron); think about this idea of “soft power” in figures like Moses and like Ghandi, who said, “in a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  Amen and hello, Rosa Parks.

4.  Deliberate practice is necessary to improve, and it must be done by oneself.  This also cultivates patience – something we ALL need.

5.  We can all benefit from quiet in a world that suffers from excessive stimuli (how many screens or devices are we plugged into daily?)

6.  Need for better balance in the classroom (ex:  independent work alongside collaboration)

7.  Relationships and communication between introverts and extroverts…how can we better understand each other?

8.  “Love is essential,” Cain asserts, “gregariousness is optional.”

Read more here:

Let me know what you think when/if you read this. Maybe we can collect our thoughts separately and share them in this space or another intimate forum.  I am, mostly, an introvert, see.  🙂


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3 thoughts on “Quiet

  1. JLA on said:

    For a girl who knew the meaning of loquacious before I left elementary school (it often found its way into my report card comments), I love what you have said about quiet. I like the phrase “soft power”. This post if full of worthy insights, and I would love to read the book and be a part of a discussion…or maybe I would say reflection!

  2. Jane Armstrong on said:

    Carter, the following was today’s daily devotional from Max Lucado. I think you two are trying to tell me something.

    When God gave the Ten Commandments, He needed only five English words to condemn adultery; four to denounce thievery and murder. But when he came to the topic of rest? Listen to this: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servants, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11). Wow! One word after another

    Still we object. We offer up one reason after another. We dont like to rest. Repeat these words after me, It is not my job to run the world. In the long run well do more by doing less!

    From: little bit of lagniappe <> Reply-To: little bit of lagniappe <> Date: Monday, June 17, 2013 9:06 PM To: Jane Armstrong <> Subject: [New post] Quiet

    cajuncart posted: “In the quiet of the evening as summer storms make their mark on my windowpane and water our thirsty earth, I am thinking about the power of quiet – both in the soft silence that surrounds, but also the book I have just finished by the same name: Quiet by”

  3. JA, thank you for your thoughtful comments and especially for including Lucado’s daily devotional from today; how poignant is that? WOW. Rest. Quiet. Soft power. Listening. There is a time for every purpose under heaven, right? Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my friend…

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