From very early on in our journey as a family, Chris and I smiled at the differences in each of our temperaments. Initially, it was as husband and wife; later it was as parents, as we saw our children develop their own personalities.
This last week, the four Conlees converged in the same city for some much-needed socially-distanced connection after being so far from each other since Christmas. With everything closed and borrowing an unfurnished apartment, we found a walk to a local coffee shop a frequent occurrence. The walk, however, required crossing a busy street. As I made the trek with different family members, it reminded me of the importance of understanding how each member of our family is wired.
- My son crosses the street daring someone to hit him. He’s sure everyone sees him and will stop for him. The crosswalk sign is irrelevant.
- My daughter crosses the street having made sure both ways are clear enough to walk across at her own pace. She won’t be rushed.
- My husband crosses the street before the sign turns to white but with caution and stopping clearly in the median to make sure it’s still safe.
- I wait for the light to indicate it’s my turn. Shocker. 🤪
Whether your children are 8 or 28, it’s always wise to be a student of their personality.
What are their strengths?
What are their weaknesses?
Are they risk averse or risk takers?
Are they introverts or extroverts?
Knowing how God wired your family members can prevent many conflicts and explain the vast variety of perspectives that can come from people sharing the same genetics.
Whether it’s StrengthsFinder or the DISC test or the Enneagram, there’s a lot of value in learning and remembering what motivates and what discourages those you care the most about. The tests are simply tools and their results shouldn’t become labels. However, they serve as great conversation starters around the dinner table… which might be useful with so many family dinners happening in this season!
So, if you have some time you’re trying to spend in a productive way, this may be the perfect opportunity to take an online test with your family and share what you learn with one another. Let me know what you find out!