My family is made up of wannabe dog owners. We have a habit of befriending our neighbours’ dogs and acting like they are our own. Charlie the chihuahua was a firm fav, and Polly the schnauzer, then Tana the labrador/ border collie cross quickly became the most frequently walked dog in all of Cracroft, Christchurch when we stayed with him for three weeks.
At the moment Top Dog position is held by Frankie the unknown mix. He lives to the left of us and we hold a relationship with him through the fence. Somehow he even managed to score a starring feature on the personalized lego Christmas themed wallpaper that is currently on our desktop monitor.
One day, probably when we own our own home we’ll become dog people for real. In the meantime I was humoring myself the other day by using this online tool – choosing the right dog breed for us (based on all sorts of interesting things) and I was struck with this idea – how completely different this is to how our families look, with the mishmash of personality types we end up in our family groups. Ain’t no pre-conception, before they are even a ‘twinkle in our eyes’ picking and choosing of personality types in our kids, is there?
You see one the most challenging things we face as parents is in seeing all the different personalities our children have, and learning to appreciate all that they encompass – and not try to change them into what is best suited to us, or to what we know and can understand better.
Our oldest boy is a planner and an organizer. He’s extremely detail specific and has a very high idea speed. He wants to know by 8pm one day, what the entire plan is for the next day. Now both my husband and I are organized people too – we like routines and structure, especially my ‘oldest of 6 kids’ husband who has quite the reputation for organizing his whole entire family. His rearranging of his Mother’s pantry in ’98 is still quite vivid in all of their minds and there may or may not have been great appreciation for this gesture. Anyhoo – as parents we are organized. However, sometimes we’re tired, we’re hot and bothered, we’re waiting on other people, we’re doing housework or other jobs, we’re spending time with our other children or we’re distracted by a gazillion and one other things and we can’t answer the multitude of questions that are fired at us by Mr Tell Me Everything You Can Right Now. Then I get frustrated by his need to know so much. Then I feel bad for getting frustrated. Spiral, spiral, spiral.
But lately, I’ve been realizing more and more that Nathanael’s personality is a gift – it is part of a package deal of what makes him unique and gifted in what he is gifted at. He is who he is for a purpose. And although I wouldn’t have picked and chosen such a planner and such an organizer for a firstborn (and yeah I know it is a common trait in a firstborn) when I look at Nat’s interests right now those personality traits make complete sense – and fit him to a tee. Right now Nat loves all things aviation. His main interest is planes – and everything about them. He can look at a plane from a huge distance and tell you what make and model it is. He is adept with flying his plane simulator computer game. If he continues with this interest, I can think of no safer hands at the controls of a big or small plane. I would trust him in a heartbeat – he would be an educated, responsible, knowledgeable and ultra competent pilot – if he so pursues that career path. And by golly he’d do his utmost to get you to your destination on time.
I need to see and appreciate all of Nathanael’s personality (as well as my other children’s) for what is it – special, designed with a greater purpose, well beyond my limitations and short-sightedness.
It is just as well you can’t pick and choose your kids’ personalities, otherwise I wouldn’t have daily opportunities to develop my patience in particular…….but you mark my words, I’ll be super picky about that breed of dog we eventually get……