As we are aware that the habits we instill in our children will carry through to their adult years, I recently worked my way through the “Practical Personality” material by Mystie Winckler and did my best to “type” each of the kids, and both parents.
Hubby and I studied the information on each child and made a list of strengths and weaknesses we wanted to be aware of as we made our plans for the coming year. It’s a tricky balance between understanding their individual needs and coming up with a system and schedule that works for all 9 people in our home. Or if we need more than one system, systems that I can manage without going crazy.
I don’t know that we have a complete answer yet, but there was one result from our studies I didn’t expect. One of the children is a “type” that I struggle to relate to. The risk-taker, highly motivated by reward, wants a grand adventure, don’t-pin-me-down sort that I delight in and yet have no idea how to raise.
I’m not big into risk. I’m self-disciplined and dependable, loyal. Risk-taking, and the people who do it, intimidate me. So how do I raise this person? How do I help them walk in their amazing strengths and use them for good, while fighting some of the struggles that come with this slightly unpredictable bent?
The very aspects of this personality (ESTP, by the way) that will serve them well in their adult life are absolutely daunting to a parent and teacher of this child who doesn’t fit the mold of “sit down and accomplish all of your tasks – do them well- and stay on schedule!” Schooling at home means I can consider the temperament of each child, but it doesn’t mean I have any idea how to HELP build healthy habits and stay true to their God stamp.
Now, obviously, God knew what he was doing when He put this child in our family. He wasn’t surprised and He has deemed us just the right people to shepherd this kid into adulthood. We put our faith in His sovereignty and are grateful that He trusts us with such a fantastic individual.
So, as with most things, we will try something and see how it goes. Parenting is basically just throwing noodles at the fridge to see what sticks. Some days, we don’t see any progress, any indication that anything we are doing is getting through, effecting change or growth. Or even creating a sane human being.
I will admit, I get frustrated when the fruit takes a long time to show. My friend Annie recently wrote about a friend who planted an avocado pit and was surprised to get an actual avocado-bearing tree out of it after several years of being utterly forgotten. She writes,
“But the part we didn’t see were all those days in the middle. The dead days. The days where nothing grew and nothing changed on the outside, but everything was changing on the inside.”
These days aren’t entirely dead, but I have to remind myself that the work I’m hoping for, praying for, aiming for in these people I’m raising isn’t always something I can see. That dormancy doesn’t last forever. And that my hope is not in my efforts, my fruitless noodle-throwing, but in the work of Jesus.
“He alone brings life from death, even when it feels like no new fruit will ever will grow in those dry, barren places.”
P.S. Do take the time to read the rest of Annie’s piece. I’ve been studying through Romans with the SheReadsTruth crowd and her piece happened to strike me right in the Parental Feels. But there’s so much more to what she had to say… Please go read it!
*Those are affiliate links to Mystie’s material, by the way. All proceeds go toward my coffee fund. 😉