Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Otters, Lions, Beavers and Golden Retrievers - Oh My!!!

Otters, Lions, Beavers and Golden Retrievers...beware!!!

Do you have these animals living at your house?  Well I do!  A FAMILY CAN BE A REAL ZOO!

Years ago, when there were five children in our home, a friend gave us the books "The Treasure Tree" and "The Two Trails" by Trent and Smalley.  I had read books on personalities, (that was a big thing in the late 80's), but I hadn't read one that put it in such easy terms for my kids.

I remember first reading on personalities - Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine, and Phlegmatic - "Personality Plus" by Florence Littauer, many years ago.  I guess I was too wise in my own young eyes because I didn't like being put into any category.  Well, age brings some wisdom and when the different personalities started to display themselves in my own home....well, let's just say I became a believer.

I wanted my children to accept each others personalities and not become prideful in their own eyes.  I would use illustrations about how we were each part of a recipe and without one of the ingredients, the end product wouldn't taste good.  I wanted us to embrace our differences and not allow them to tear us apart.

So, when these books hit our home, we had a high schooler, a middle schooler, two elementary scholars and a toddler.  The personalities were in full swing.  The Lion had entered his teen years, the otter was playing through his middle school years...on and on!

These books have helped my children see how to work together and appreciate each others' strengths.  They enlighten them as to the value of each of the personality types.

Personality Checklist
Lion - daring and unafraid of new situations, likes to be a leader, ready to take on challenges, is firm and serious about what is expected, makes decisions quickly 

Golden Retriever - always loyal and faithful to friends, listens carefully, likes to help others, is a peacemaker, doesn't like it when others argue, patient and willing to wait for something 

Beaver - is neat and tidy,notices details, sticks with something until done, asks lots of questions, likes things done the same way, tells things just the way they are

Otter - talks a lot and tells wild stories, likes to do all kinds of fun things, enjoys being in groups, likes to perform, full of energy and always eager to play, always happy and sees the good part of everything

Now most of us are a combination, but we usually have a dominant side.  Our family is very heavily weighted in the Otter department, with the other personalities spread through the rest of us.  Our otters tend to steal the stage and the rest of us have learned how to create order out of the chaos that they might sometimes leave behind....but we never have a dull moment round here.  They are also the ones missed when we have a lion/beaver planned family gathering (even though the other personalities have shown up) because the party tends to be less entertaining.

These little children's stories have helped us...and me, to remember the strengths and weaknesses associated with each of our personalities.  They have allowed us to give grace to each other and to understand the various personalities as God adds to our family.  God has given each of us our own special outlook on life...but isn't it a good thing he didn't make us all alike?  Variety is the joy of having a family!!!  We get to know these personalities at home first and then we can embrace them in the world.

How have you taught or learned to accept different people's personalities?

12 Joining in with more words:

Debbie said...

Janette, I love this post!

I attended one of Florence Littauer conferences and did the personality profile. I was a sanguine but also had a strong phlegmatic. So I guess I'm an otter too but also a cocker spaniel. I think we'd get along just fine.

I had all of my family take these tests too just to see. Greg is the complete opposite of me; figures! He's a choleric and melancholy is his second.

My side of the family consists mostly of sanguines or otters. Greg's family is just the opposite. LOL


Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I'm always a combination in these personality things. I've never read that book so I'm not sure which one I would be but I agree that most families have some sort of combination and it does make life interesting.

e-Mom said...

What an excellent way to teach young kids about their differing temperaments... with animals!

Seems we're on the same page. Recently, I listed two of my favorite books about the seven (biblical) motivational giftings... Knowing how God made us really helps us to accept ourselves and others, doesn't it?


BECKY said...

Wow! What a thoughtful approach to the subject! We have 4 daughters and my teaching has been that we are to love and get along with our family first...everything else comes after that in God's Word...and I have talked about the example of the church and the human body, but other than that...they have just learned through the "love one another" and "do unto others" truths.

Love how you think...you seem to be a very sweet spirited gal...it seems the Lord knows I could use a little more sweetness in my spirit!! LOL!!

I have taken the tests, and I am mostly otter/lion with a little of the others!

Thanks so much for stopping by! It is great to meet you! And congratulations on your 30 years!! It is quite a victory in these difficult times, huh?

Looking forward to getting to know you better gal!!
Have a joyful week!

Sassy Granny ... said...

For a moment there I thought I was about to read a C.S. Lewis commentary.

Isn't life absolutely amazing when it comes to parables & life lessons? Bless you for gleaning the wisdom-at-hand to teach your little ones.


Kimberly said...

Very thought provoking. I love to see my children's personalities come out and to watch them interact. Even at their young ages. I think I can learn some things from you!!! Blessings, Kimberly


Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Perfect post for me (as usual)! I see each of us there... I am a lion for sure. I love different examples to help teach empathy and appreciation of differences to my kids - THANKS, will use this!

Theresa said...

Interesting post. It is difficult for certain personalities to be accepting of other personalities when they seem to drive us nuts. But yet another opportunity to put on love. Thanks for sharing Janette.

Sonja said...


I remember those studies... I was always sanguine and a little phlegmatic, like Debbie has just described. We always used to laugh at the descriptions since they pretty well nailed all of us. My husband is also the opposite of me... probably a good thing!

This was fun, it kind of reminds me of the birth order book too. I think I'll have to do a post one of these days on that one. It's all very interesting and pretty revealing.

Good things to ponder on, and like you said, isn't it good He didn't make us all alike??



WesternWoodburner said...

“Golden Retriever - always loyal and faithful to friends, listens carefully, likes to help others, is a peacemaker, doesn't like it when others argue, patient and willing to wait for something”

Oh, the blessed Golden Retriever! If wishin’ were not wrong, I’d wish there was more of them! Like would be dull though if everyone was nice. :)

Someone sent me a horse test once where you picked out what horse you were by your personalities - a Quarter Horse being steady and faithful, a Thourghbread being high-strung etc., it was kind of neat for those who like horses.

J. R. Miller in some of his excellent books writes about people being “a means of grace.” That is, their rough natures rubbing and polishing our own into better character. I try to use people as an object lesson and watch what I like and dislike about them. If I like something, I try to emulate it. If I dislike, I try to remember not to treat others in such a manner.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Janette, I didn't see this post the first time, and I wasn't familiar with the animal traits comparisons. I love this idea! Must look into it more... Looks like I'm predominantly a Lion(ess) -- who knew? Oh, yeah, you called me that last week. Hmmm... I have a lot to think about.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Glad to read this one, Janette. I can see my family members in these... not as easy to lable ourselves sometimes... hee hee... but I think I must be a beaver, though it sounds much more fun to be an otter! blessings ~ tanna

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