“Hey, Patch, are those clothes finished?”
“…working on it, Mom.”
30 minutes later…
“How’s it going, son?”
“I’m doing it…”
30 minutes later…
“Hey, as soon as you finish you can go ride your bike with Anna!”
“OK, Mom, I’m folding….”
It always amazed me that certain children doing a “simple” household chore, folding clothes, could take SO long, and still never really be completely finished! Even after he thought it was done, random clothing and isolated socks still littered the folding space. I could have it done in 10 minutes–completely folded and put away!
Are there answers to these puzzling little people mysteries as we raise our children?
Discovering the “bent” of each of my kids brought helpful insight to everyday situations. Becoming aware of the personality differences of my children was like putting on a pair of 3-D glasses to watch a movie: suddenly things leaped out at me.
Best-selling author Marcus Buckingham in his book, THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU, provides a simple insight about our kids. He offers that as children grow, they become more of who they already are; their strengths are actually already in place and become stronger. (The 20-minute DVD that comes with his book is worth the price.)
Our 5th child Jean-Luc is a classic example of this. One of his signature capabilities is taking charge. I remember times the family would be sitting around the table finishing dinner, and Jean-Luc would stand up and start doling out the clean-the-kitchen jobs. Great, except that two of the people he was giving orders to happened to be his parents! Today he is developing his leadership at the Naval Academy.
There are tools that help you discover your child’s personality.
Smalley and Trent developed a fun and simple test that identifies personalities as animals: lion, beaver, otter, and golden retriever. Even kids get it. Being able to pinpoint Judith as a golden retriever opened my eyes to such a greater understanding of why she doesn’t like confrontation and is such a good friend! Click here to get the test the test.
If you want to go deeper with this, I recommend an extremely useful and informative book, DIFFERENT CHILDREN, DIFFERENT NEEDS, by Charles F. Boyd. This book helped me understand why Patrick struggled folding the clothes. He needed people, interaction; isolating him discouraged him. Learning this removed a source of frustration for both of us. Remember the folding-the-clothes chore? Now I knew why completing this was so hard for Patrick. He was not lazy; he was not incompetent. He was simply energized by being with people. As an adult, he is using this strength to gather people together to change lives.
It does take time to analyze, study, and discover the traits and ways of another. This effort can improve our relationships. This knowledge can help us adjust our expectations of one another. We can live together more gracefully by understanding one another and by making allowances for one another. It helps us as parents to mold and train and encourage.
If your family is like ours, we could all use a little more understanding and harmony. Instead of focusing on your kids’ weaknesses, work on developing their strengths.
The ultimate result is greater harmony in our homes and families.