Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thoughts on Temperament

In a lot of my reading, I've noticed that most authors seems to take either a positive or negative approach to personality traits. Either a child's strong will is seen as something to be conquered or it's viewed as the persistence that will enable that child to one day cure cancer.

As a Christian, I agree and disagree with both viewpoints. All of us have tendencies that lead us to sin, and those same tendencies can be used for God's glory.

Yet at times it has been hard to believe that. In his first six months, Peter's perseverance against my determined efforts at sleep training seemed nothing more than a thorn in my side. His perseverance in refusing solids until almost nine months seemed nothing more than a thorn in my side. His perseverance in crying for the entire duration of my absence every time I left him for his first year and a half of life seemed nothing more than a thorn in my side.

But lately, finally, I am seeing his perseverance used in a positive way. At church recently, his Sunday School teachers were impressed that he spent fifteen minutes helping them clean the room, while his peers got so easily distracted. While subbing in another one of his classes, I noticed that Peter focused on the teacher for the entire duration of Circle Time, while other kids were easily distracted by nose picking and the velcro on their shoes.

Peter can stick to a task. When it's learning a new skill or following through with a teacher's instructions, it's awesome.

Of course, when that task is throwing a tantrum, it stinks.

1 comment:

kristen said...

Our church had Gordon Baals do a parenting conference last weekend and he talked about this a good deal. About knowing your child's bent and parenting them in that (not doing the same thing for everyone or having the same expectations.) It's good to be reminded that God made our children who they are, and we only have to teach them to glorify God within that and to use their bent for good.