Parents and teachers are charged with the responsibility to bring out the best in children. When we do, they thrive. They are more aware of their own abilities and limitations; accepting of others’ strengths and struggles; confident in a healthy way; and contributors to a better world.
To be successful in bringing out best in children we must understand how God designed them. Our society often times focuses on being “well-rounded” or areas that need improvement. We focus on the “C” in math instead of the “A” in writing. Coaches often make them work on throwing the ball if that is a weakness rather than zeroing on their skill of kicking or blocking or batting.
Hippocrates, a physician who lived 2000 years ago, was credited with identifying that people behaved within four different styles. One or two styles usually resonates with us. Observe your children:
A Playful Sanguine is fun loving, talkative, positive, curious and includes others. They are good storytellers and like to please people. Others may find them frustrating because they tend to be messy, distracted and hurt when not included.
A Proper Melancholy is more serious, likes time alone, is naturally neat and tidy, responsible and always wants to do things the “right” way. Others might complain about them because they tend to be critical and moody.
A Powerful Choleric is a natural leader, takes command, shows confidence, is action oriented and rises to meet goals. They sometimes ruffle others because they come across as bossy, demanding and unsympathetic.
A Peaceful Phlegmatic is easy-going, doesn’t draw attention, is reliable, seeks harmony and gets along well with most people. A parent or teacher might try to push them because they seem to lack motivation and procrastinate. If they feel pushed, their stubborn streak will come to the surface.
The key is to help children and teens develop their strengths and manage their weaknesses. 75% of boys in juvenile detention centers are second born Cholerics who weren’t allowed to lead. They found a way – a negative way. If that natural leadership ability had been channeled in a healthy way they would be strong contributors to society.
Jim Carey was considered a problem student because he talked so much and tried to command attention. One teacher learned how to handle him. She told him that if he kept quiet and paid attention during the school day, he could have 10 minutes at the end of the day to entertain the class. Yes, it motivated him!
Here are three important steps parents and teachers can take to bring out the best in kids.
1. Observe them to distinguish their God-given personality. For example, during games or sports you will observe:
- Playful Sanguine – doesn’t care about rules, laughs at her mistakes, chatters
- Proper Melancholy – follows rules, tries to do everything “right,” gets deeply hurt by his mistakes
- Powerful Choleric – highly competitive, angers easily, wants to pick team and coach them
- Peaceful Phlegmatic – may be reluctant, listens so he can do well, quietly competitive
2. Identify their strengths and focus on developing them.
Each personality style has strengths that need to be developed to bring out the best in a child or teen.
- Help a Sanguine organize a party with invitations, games, refreshments and decorations.
- Have your Melancholy research a procedure for getting the family out of the house safely. Write out instructions and draw a map.
- Challenge your Choleric to set goals in three areas – physical, academic, and home front.
- Peaceful Phlegmatic – Let him know how helpful it would be if he would make up some questions for the family to answer at the dinner table. Have him write them on strips of paper, put in a basket and take turns answering at dinner.
3. Teach them how to adjust to get along better with others.
My three grown children tell me that next to knowing the Lord, the most important thing I taught them was The Personalities. It helped them get along better with friends, family members, teachers and employers. We can accept ourselves and then adjust according to another’s style to communicate more effectively.
Whether you are a teacher, parent, neighbor or relative, you have great influence on children and teens. Learn to identify their personality, build on their strengths and help them adapt to get along better with others to bring out the best in children.
Learn more about this topic in Zoo Clues: The Personalities of Children and Teens for Parents and Educators. https://ibloom.co/store/zoo-clues/ You will receive great teaching, tools and assessments to help bring out the best in children.