Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our House ... the Zoo

On a daily basis, I would admit that our house often feels more like a zoo than a home.  It's noisy (four kids all wanting to be heard at the same time? ... that's loud).  Sometime's it's a bit smelly (usually when the stinky tennis shoes come off - phew!).  There's a lot of clean up after meals (sometimes I wish for a drain in the kitchen floor and a high powered house like in the elephant house).  And it's busy (everybody going in a different direction in a galloping herd ... ba-da-bum, ba-da-bum, ba-da-bum!)  But it wasn't until recently that I realized that we actually live IN a zoo, an actual zoo.

A few weeks ago, we had a speaker at our MOPS meeting who spoke on the four different personalities that make up all of human-kind.  To make it understandable to us all, Gary Smalley, the author behind this personality study, describes the four types in terms of animals.  There is the dominant, leadership-driven Lions.  The social, let's-have-a-party Otters.  The detail-focused, get-er-done Beavers.  And the loyal, stand-by-your-side Golden Retrievers.  And in our home ... we have one of each!  :)

As you can imagine that was a bit of a surprise and yet incredibly enlightening.  It was amazing for me to see in black and white the personalities of my kids mapped out.  They could actually rename each personality type with my kids' names if they needed further clarification.  At the same time, it was refreshing to me to see the strengths and weaknesses of each personality and recognize that the parts of my kids that drive me nuts are just part of their make up and the things I love about my kids are also a part of their internal wiring.  I can't criticize or take credit for any of it!

Introducing ... my zoo:

Aaron is my Otter.  This was the biggest surprise ... and the biggest encouragement.  I wasn't really sure where my boy would fit, but as I read through the adjectives, it became increasingly clear that he was a happy-go-lucky, social, disorganized little Otter.  He loves to talk, and talk ... and talk ... and talk.  And talk.  He is very enthusiastic about just about everything and he wants you to share in his enthusiasm.  Hence the talking.  He is willing to take risks and loves to try new things, whether that's jumping off the high-dive 15 times or joining a team of other nine year-olds he doesn't know to play baseball.  He has an incredible imagination and loves to be creative.  He's also scatter-brained, easy distracted and can never complete a task 100%.  While it still drives me a bit batty that he can only focus long enough to do two-thirds of any given task, there's comfort in knowing that he isn't doing intentionally.  He can't help it ... there's just so much to do, see and say!  Yep ... he's a yahoo, let's play Otter!

Norah is my Beaver.  I sort of knew this going into the test, but it was interesting to see her so completely lined up with the words describing this personality.  Ever since she was an itty-bitty girl she has been very detailed-oriented ... almost to the point of annoying. :)  She is accurate in all her work.  Umm ... make that a perfectionist in all her work.  She thrives on schedules and routines ... and will actually short-circuit a bit if her day is tweaked or rearranged without her approval.  She is sensitive and feels deeply for the people around her.  As her mom, I appreciate that she is dependable and when I need help around the house, she's my go-to-gal.  But as her mom, her high-level of perfectionism is exhausting and her deep sensitivity wears me out.  Being a Beaver is hard work!

Ashley is my Golden Retriever.  I wasn't exactly sure where Ashley would fit in this study, but as soon as the speaker mentioned the words, "adaptable, non-demanding and sympathetic", I knew.  My Ashley is the most easy-going, patient and mellow kid in the bunch.  She rolls with the punches of the day ... and the punches from Lydia.  She is willing to help out wherever she is needed and is often the first to jump in and help out around the house ... often with a bounce in her step and a song on her lips.  She is very thoughtful and is regularly writing notes and making pictures for family.  We have a stack of envelopes to hand out that are stuffed full with stickered pages and doodled pictures ... all made with someone particular in mind.  While sweet Ashley is warm and thoughtful, she is also super sensitive and gets her feelings hurt very easily (seeing being used as a punching-bag above).  She is very loyal to her friends, but expects the same intense loyalty from them and is sad when a friend doesn't measure up.  Even if they're 4 years old and don't know the definition of "loyalty".  Ashley also runs the risk of being a doormat due to her unwillingness to stand up for herself (see punching-bag reference again).  It's pretty easy to have a Golden Retriever around.

Then there's Lydia ... my Lion.  I will be the first to admit that we are still getting to know Lydia, but from everything I know so far ... she definitely has the roar and the bite down!  She is my most driven child by far.  I would actually use the words "strong willed", but that really doesn't cut it!  More like a muscle-bound, two-year old, tough gal.  She is confident and willing to take on any challenge; sometimes challenges that are out of her reach ... but only for a little while.  Kinda like the cookie jar on the kitchen counter behind the fruit basket.  She is determined and persistent and the only hope keeping me from putting her in an actual cage is that someday she will use all that determination and persistence for the good of human-kind!  Often she and I butt heads because she is operating under the misunderstanding that "it's her road or the high road".  Then Mommy steps and and says, "I'm the boss" and the tussling begins.  She likes to be in charge, and again, much to her dismay, that doesn't work at her age, either.  It can be tough living with a Lion, but I think I'm up for the challenge.  As long as my Lion will still take naps.

So ... what are you?  And your spouse?  Kids?  Parents?  It really is fascinating!  Take a few minutes and  fill out this test.  You might be surprised ... or, then again ... maybe not!  Maybe you'll just say, "Yep!  That's me!"

I'm a Golden Retriever with some strong Beaver tendencies ... and that explains a lot! :)


You might notice a few changes to Snapshots ...

I have moved "Trekking Thru the Bible" to it's own  page.  Hopefully this will alleviate some of the posting/formatting headaches that I've had lately.  It's the same daily devotion ... just a new location.  Look for the "footprints" button on the left.

Just below that you will find a button for a new feature:  "What's for Dinner?"  With one little click you will find my weekly menus for our family meals ... and hopefully you'll find some inspiration for your own dinner table, too!

1 comment:

  1. I can relate.. I think Joshua is a Beaver, I am a Golden Retriever, Rebekah and Bethany are GR's too. I think Caleb is a lion (his name actually means bold) and Mallory is our little cheer-leader, party-girl Otter! I can identify with the talking... :-D
    Great post, love all the different personalities- makes life fun!


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