Quiet Is OK

“Quiet Is OK,” Friend, August 2020

Quiet Is OK

“Is there something wrong with me?” Evie thought.

“You’re the only person who ever can be you” (Children’s Songbook, 142–43).

Friend Magazine, 2020/08 Aug

Illustrations by Mark Robison

Evie walked into the noisy gym and pulled her kneepads up over her knees. She was excited for volleyball camp, but also really nervous. She’d never been alone at a camp like this before! She hoped she would make friends soon.

She looked around at the dozens of girls talking excitedly to each other. I wish I was more like Libby, she thought. Libby was her sister. She could talk to anyone and become good friends.

But Evie was more … quiet. At school, she usually liked to read her book instead of talking before class. She didn’t mind working by herself on school projects. And when it was her birthday, she invited just a few friends to go skating instead of having a big party.

The coach blew her whistle, and Evie jogged over to join the others for warm-ups. Evie felt a little awkward, but she tried to talk to a few of the girls.

After hours of serving, passing, and playing get-to-know-you games, it was finally time for lunch. Evie brought her food to a round table and sat next to some other players. Everyone was talking loudly and singing in funny voices. Evie munched quietly on her carrot sticks.

One of the older girls at the table noticed Evie being quiet. “Hey!” She put her hand on Evie’s shoulder and shook it playfully. “Be yourself! Just be crazy!”

Evie felt embarrassed. But what if I am being myself? she thought. What if I don’t want to “be crazy”? Maybe there was something wrong with her. Everyone seemed to like the girls who were loud.

At the end of the day, Evie was glad to see Mom’s car pull up. “How was it?” Mom asked.

“Fun,” Evie said as she climbed into her seat. And it had been fun … sort of.

Evie sighed. Tomorrow would be another day of camp, surrounded by people she didn’t know. She would have to be brave all over again.

Mom seemed to read her mind. “I’m proud of you,” she said. “It’s not easy going to a camp where you don’t know anyone.”

Evie looked out the window. “I just wish I wasn’t so quiet.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being quiet,” Mom said. “It will get easier as you get to know more people. But you don’t have to change your personality. Being you is OK.”

Evie thought about that for the rest of the drive home.

The next day, Evie was brave and talked to a few more people. She tried to think less about what others were thinking about her. Instead, she focused on playing her best and having fun. She worked hard on the drills and said kind things to the other players. She still felt like she was quieter than most of the others, but she started to feel more confident making new friends.

On the last day of camp, everyone sat on the gym floor while the coach announced awards for each girl. Tasha got the award for the most improved serve. Mia got the award for most team spirit.

“And to Evie,” the coach said, “the Quiet Leader Award.” Evie’s eyes widened as she stood up to get her certificate. Everyone clapped.

“Sometimes we think leadership means being loud and telling people what to do,” said the coach. “But a good leader sets an example for others to follow. Thanks for working hard, Evie. Your actions speak louder than your words.”

Evie smiled as she walked back to her seat. Mom was right! Being quiet was OK. It was more than OK, actually.