I love the study of personality. This was by far the favorite class of my psychology undergrad and something that continues to be a focus in my personal reading even now. Ask any friend who knows me well and I’m sure they will recount (perhaps with a sigh) the times I’ve gotten into long dissertations on different personalities, what they look like, how they act, what they are thinking…and generally more information than most probably really wanted. The enthusiasm with which I deliver all this information is the main reason I think people don’t stop and redirect me to another topic…oh, and the fact that I’m not easily diverted!
Personality to me is bedrock information that I wish all people had to learn about and understand, to some degree, as a maturation requirement. It would go a long way in helping people have mercy for one another, and give themselves some grace in the process of living life.
I’ve recently started reading Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey, published in 1992 today it is one of the most widely used temperament sorters in the world. Here is a link to take this personality indicator if you have an interest in doing so for yourself! While I love the book, and have been swimming in its pages for the last week, it does read like a textbook…so it isn’t for the faint of heart.
As much as I would love to expound on all the different personalities, define them for you and tell you where I fall…there is far more to tell then you would have the patience to read…or listen to. Just ask my obliging husband who has had to listen to me in great detail as we traveled on our recent camping trip, LOL!
My purpose in bringing up this book and area of study is to point out that there are things in life that just ARE…not good, not bad, just IS. Temperament is an IS. Keirsey relates temperament to computer hardware while character is the software,“Thus temperament is the inborn form of human nature; character [is] the emergent form, which develops through the interaction of temperament and environment.”
Understanding that temperament is innate—even though we can teach and train the weaker parts of it—is important in all of our relationships, but nowhere is it as important as in parenting.
Parenting brings with it the potential for a whole host of guilt and insecurity about the job we are doing or did do in raising our children. While there is plenty to be aware of and work against in raising kids, there are some things I think we make the mistake of taking the fault for when, in reality, there is no fault…there just IS a difference in temperament.
For a change, I will use my husband and my son as an example of what I mean.