When I introduce her to others or if an unfamiliar person greets her, she usually turns into me, hiding behind her hair, and whispers, “But I’m shy.”
My response is almost always the same:
You can be shy, but you still need to be polite.
You can be shy, but you still need to honor others.
Followed by gentle encouragement to greet (or respond to) the person. Sometimes I need to give her the words to say or remind her to look with her eyes when she’s speaking, and I help her practice and gain the confidence she needs.
Being polite and showing good manners is one way we can obey God’s command to honor others (Romans 12:10), to value them and look to their needs (Philippians 2:3-4), and to treat others in the way that we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
It takes practice and lots and lots of try agains. Even now, some situations are more difficult for my daughter than others, but the more she has practiced being respectful even when she feels shy, the easier it has become for her.
I don’t want to go against my daughter’s personality, but I do want to help her grow, even if it is uncomfortable at first. I want her to be considerate of others, even if she is shy.
If you have a shy one whose shyness sometimes borders on disrespect, try to gently remind her:
It’s okay to be shy, but showing respect is still important.
Question for You: What characteristics does your child have that makes it difficult for him to show respect? How do you help him overcome those traits?