The other day, as we drove by the public school our eldest son used to attend, he said how sorry he felt for kids who stayed late, after the buses had gone home. Personally, I had always loved sports and stayed late regularly. Plus, I hadn’t always wanted to go home. So staying late was a positive for me.
So I asked him why the idea seemed so horrid to him. Here’s what he said.
“By the time fourth grade came around, I’d completely given up on extracurricular activities. If I was doing all that stuff, when would I find the time to sit?”
As a mom who is always on the go, whose been known to get up early everyday of her vacation to run on the beach before breakfast, this thinking gave me a cramp in the brain.
Really? There’s a concern that sitting won’t be allotted enough time in your schedule?
At that very moment, I prayed a silent thank you that the book Personality Plus by Florence Littauer had hit my radar screen a few years ago. Without it, I may have confronted him about his love of doing nothing. I may have been concerned that we were raising a lazy man, instead of a Godly man.
Not that those concerns go away completely just because of one book. They don’t. In fact, they’re still very real but, more importantly, very normal concerns for someone of his personality.
And that’s the key benefit to knowing your children’s personality. Knowing that there are specific traits – strengths and weaknesses – that go with each of four different personalities that Littauer writes about allows a parent to give grace to children who are not like them. It also allows parents to coach children in how to minimize their weaker traits and maximize their strengths.
Like in this example. If I judged our son based on my personality being the only way to be, he would have fallen way short of the mark. But knowing that one of his personality strengths is calm, well thought out responses to problems, for example, I can allow for the need to sit more often. I can translate ‘sitting’ into ‘pondering’.
I can also remind him to swing the pendulum back when ‘pondering’ takes over his schedule.
How about you?
I thank God for good books that bring me new perspective that help me to see my children’s strengths.
If you care to share, I’d love to know ways that you have learned to accept your children’s – or your spouse’s – personalities. I’m especially interested in the ways that your family members are least like you.
Please take a moment to comment on those personality traits that you’ve overcome the urge to change and learned to love in your loved ones.