Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If Jesus Were a Hockey Fan: a Lesson in Sportsmanship

Being a Pittsburg Penguins fan and living in the Washington, D.C. area has given me some interesting opportunities to teach my boys lessons in good sportsmanship. After a long day of being verbally assaulted by Caps fans at school for wearing his Penguins jersey, my son came home and said, “you know Mom, I don’t understand why Caps fans are so hateful about the Penguins. As a Penguins fan, I don’t have problem with the Caps … it’s the Caps FANS that I have a problem with. No sense of sportsmanship there!” 

I thought that was an interesting observation and distinction from a 15-year-old. 

Sportsmanship. When I looked for a quick definition on Wikipedia it started with the obvious “Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors. Being a "good sport" involves being a ‘good winner’ as well as being a ‘good loser’.”

But I was more intrigued by the sentences that followed.

“In general, sportsmanship refers to virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage and persistence and has been associated with interpersonal concepts of treating others and being treated fairly, maintaining self-control in dealing with others, and respect for both authority and opponents.” Wow – rings a bit of Matthew 7:12, doesn’t it? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. 

Then there was a section headed “Relationship to Morality.”  

Morality … on Wikipedia? Morality is a Biblical concept… so does that make good sportsmanship a Biblical concept?  

It read, “Sportsmanship typically is regarded as a component of morality in sport … acting toward others in an honest, straightforward, and a firm and dignified manner even when others do not play fairly. It includes respect for others including team members, opponents, and officials.” 

I don’t think this is exclusive to the players, either. Let’s talk about the fans for a minute. Now I certainly get that “trash talk” is part of the whole sport-fan thing and even though I generally stay out of that kind of exchange, there’s no harm in a little banter between friends. But I think there is a line that is crossed when hateful words are shouted out at complete strangers or the physical harm of a particular player is celebrated or, even worse, overtly wished for. If hate in our hearts and thoughts is the same as murder (1 John 3:15) what is the implication of trash-talk that clearly comes from a place of hate and is intended to disrespect “others including team members, opponents, and officials.” 

Now if Jesus were walking the Earth today, I don’t know that he’d be a hockey fan (certainly not for New Jersey, anyway). But if I brought him to a game with me, would it change my behavior in the stands? It shouldn’t. Would it change what I say to an opposing fan? It better not. Do you think He’d be screaming from behind the glass, “TAKE HIS HEAD OFF!” I don’t think so. If a player from the opposing team was laying on the ice with blood dripping from his eye socket, would Jesus say, “yeah! That’ll take him out for the rest of the week!” or do you think he might utter a quick prayer for the poor guy that he’s okay. Can we show a little concern for the human being before we move on to celebrating that this injury could play in our favor? 

I’m not trying to be trite in boiling it all down to WWJD. It’s natural to appreciate the strategic advantage to your team when a player from an opposing team is out for a game of for several due to injury, but to celebrate the injury itself, to wish injury upon others? I don’t think Jesus would do that and I don’t think that would make Him any less of a fan or would diminish His (or my) ability to enjoy the game. If Jesus and I are demonstrating sportsmanship (which is Biblical, apparently) “the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake” even if my team loses. 

I have several dear friends who are Red Wings fans and Black Hawks fans who have been up against my Penguins and we can enjoy watching the game together without any bloodshed. And if my Penguins don’t make it through the playoffs, I will support my friends by cheering for their team. But if my Penguins make it and your team doesn’t, will you cheer with me? I think Jesus would.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

“P” stands for ….

My husband and I are very clear Js (he is an ISFJ and I am an INTJ) and we have two sons that are both Ps (ISFP and ENTP). With two Js trying to raise two Ps, I’ll say it can get pretty interesting … and yes, interesting is French for frustrating. But, as an INTJ, I’m always up for a good challenge and constantly looking for a better way to do something so rather than being frustrated that the boys are not naturally compliant, obedient and submissive to parental authority (like my ISFJ husband was when growing up – yes, his mother would affirm that he was the perfect child) I redirect the frustration to myself that I have not figured out the right combination of communication techniques and motivations to incent my P children to develop their non-preferences (particularly the J behaviors) on their own and for their own benefit, not mine.

Earlier in the week, my husband and I had scheduled a day off from work to spend with the boys while they were on Spring Break and had bantered around several ideas of things to do, weather permitting. The night before our day off, he says to me “have you decided what we’re doing yet?” I respond, “hey, why don’t we put on our ‘P’ hats and just figure it out when we get there?” He responds “I don’t own a ‘P’ hat … well I do, but it stands for ‘Pittsburgh Pirates’ not ‘Procrastinating Perceiver’.”

Procrastinating Perceiver – yes Perceivers (Ps) can be known to procrastinate. We all can, regardless of type, but Ps have elevated procrastination to an art form or perhaps we’ll call it a “spiritual gift.” I also think it's important to distinguish between procrastination and laziness (my husband will often complain about the boys’ laziness and attribute it to their Type). Laziness is the desire to NOT DO the task at all and respond to that lack of desire through avoidance and a clear lack of ownership or accountability that it is their task to complete. With procrastination, there is a sense of ownership (I know I have to do this) and a recognition that it benefits them to complete it, but there is a misguided self-delusion that if they put the task off long enough it will get easier or (because Ps are options-focused) that a better task will come along that they could swap it out for with someone (or perhaps if I put it off long enough, the J-fairies will come by and do it while I’m sleeping).

Js are closure-focused. They draw satisfaction from completed-tasks, from checking the box. Ps do not draw satisfaction from checking the box, they don’t understand the box we’re checking, the words next to the box are in a foreign language. Ps are options-focused, so they will draw satisfaction from generating alternatives to the thing they know they must do, but don’t really want to do. Thus it plays out like procrastination because while they are generating alternatives to doing the thing they would rather not do, it’s still not getting done. My P-boys will put more time and energy into figuring out creative ways to not do something, that it would have actually taken to complete the task!

Unfortunately, because Ps are master procrastinators BUT will often produce their best work under the pressure of a looming deadline, that procrastinating behavior gets reinforced and rewarded by the great successes that were achieved at the last minute.

So … I haven’t figured out the magic formula to make Ps embrace J behaviors yet, but here are a few things that I have figured out. Ps don’t like to be given Js’ closure-focused conclusions (otherwise interpreted as orders – clean your room, do the dishes), they prefer to hear information (remember, options-focused) that lead them to draw their own conclusions and they like questions better than statements. So “clean your room” would roll off the J’s tongue as easily as breathing (and a J child might accept that and say “okay”), but what will resonate more with the P might be “So, what’s on your chore-list today?” or "Wow, this room's not at all what I expected. What do you think I'm noticing about it?" He'll rattle off things like clothes on floor, trash overflowing, etc. Then I'll say, "So what do you think I'm going to say next?" He'll say "that I should clean my room?" Me: "Bingo! You're so smart. I knew you didn't need me to figure that out. You always know how to make me happy."

It may not be perfect and (if you’re a J) you may be thinking I just wasted a lot of words and time to essentially say “clean your room” but think about the number of times you’ve said “clean your room” that fell of the deaf ears of your P-child. I’d argue we’ve spent/wasted the same amount of time/words and in the end, accomplished the same goal, but with questions/options approach, mom didn’t come off like a nagging harpy thereby building greater relationship skills between us.

Consider Colossians 3:21 - Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart (NAS); do not be hard on your children, so that their spirit may not be broken (BIBE); do not make your children resentful. Otherwise, they'll become discouraged (ISV). Good advice for all of us, really: fathers, mothers, teachers. And of course "above all, have fervent love for one another: for love shall cover the multitude of sins." - Peter 4.8

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You, Me & God

How Personality Type Influences How We “Do Relationships”

For The Spring Growth Group season at Fair Oaks Church, I will be leading a study group on how our personality Type influences how we “do relationships.” This group study is a follow up to the Family Relationships/MBTI Workshops that I’ve conducted at Fair Oaks Church and will build on the foundation of personality Type to explore our relationships with God and each other. Key topics in our discussions will be marriage, family dynamics and spiritual growth.

Because this study is a continuation of the material taught in the MBTI workshops, the participants who sign up must already have a foundation and knowledge of MBTI and Type. It’s not necessary to have gone through one of my workshops, but they need to have gone through the MBTI with a qualified administrator (not just one of those free online tests), they need to know their 4-letter type and have validated that type (meaning they know enough about it to have affirmed it is a true and accurate type for them) and be hungry to learn more and be stretched in their spiritual and relationship journeys.

It will not be necessary to purchase a book for this Growth Group - although you’ll probably feel compelled to before we get to the end of it. I will be supplying the participants with books-on-loan from my personal library for the duration of the Growth Group. The idea is that each participant has something different that they want to get out of this deeper study – perhaps it’s about marriage, parenting, work, spiritual growth, or just more about self – so the participants will be able to choose a book from one of those many topics that will speak to their individual angle of Type as we go through a dichotomy-by-dichotomy discussion at each of our sessions.

So here’s what it will look like (for all you “J” types who need a list and schedule):

When: Every other Wednesday 6:45 to 8 p.m.

Where: Fair Oaks Church Chapel

Session 1: Wednesday, May 4th – Group introductions and discussion of our own type. Selecting the book(s) we each want to use throughout the study.

Session 2: Wednesday, May 18th – Group discusses the Introversion/Extroversion dichotomy.

Session 3: Wednesday, June 1st – Group discusses the Sensing/iNuition dichotomy.

Session 4: Wednesday, June 15th – Group discusses the Thinking/Feeling dichotomy.

Session 5: Wednesday, June 29th – Group discusses the Judging/Perceiving dichotomy and wrap up the study.

Growth Group Resources – The MBTI Lending Library

The following books will be made available to the group participants throughout the study. Participants are welcome to take the books home, highlight in yellow or underline in pencil, switch books out from week-to-week if the one they picked isn’t hitting the mark, whatever helps make the most of the study.

16 Ways to Love Your Lover, Kroeger, Otto & Thuesen, Janet M., New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 1994, ISBN 0-385-31031-5

Differing Gifts: Understanding Personality Type, Myers, Isabel B. & Myers, Peter B., Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1980, ISBN 0-89106-064-2

How We Belong, Fight and Pray: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a Key to Congregational Dynamics, Edwards, Lloyd, New York, NY: Alban Institute, 1993, ISBN 1-56699-114-5

Just Your Type: Create the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type, Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, Barbara, New York, NY: Little, Brown & Co., 2000, ISBN 0-316-84569-8

Knowing Me, Knowing God, Exploring Your Spirituality with Myers-Briggs, Goldsmith, Malcolm, Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1997, ISBN 0-687-01705-X
Life Types, Hirsh, Sandra& Kummerow, Jean., New York, NY: Warner Books, 1989, ISBN 0-446-38823-8

Looking at Type and Spirituality, Hirsh, Sandra Krebs & Kise, Jane A.G., Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type, 1997, ISBN 0-935652-30-2

MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths, Janet P. Penley, Diane Eble, 2006 Distributed Product, ISBN 0738210455

Nurture by Nature: Understanding Your child's Personality Type And Become a Better Parent, Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, Barbara, Toronto, ON: Little Brown, 1997, ISBN: 0-316-84513-2

Personality Type and Religious Leadership, Oswald, Roy M. & Kroeger, Otto, Washington, D.C., Alban Institute, 1988, ISBN - None, Lib. Of Congress - 88-70758

Personality Type in Congregations: How to Work with Others More Effectively, Baab, Lynne M., New York, NY: Alban Inst., 1998, ISBN1-56699-193-5

Please Understand Me: Character & Temperament Types, Keirsey, David, & Bates, Marilyn, Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis, 1978, ISBN 0-9606954-0-0

SoulTypes: Finding the Spiritual Path That Is Right for You, Hirsh, Sandra Krebs & Kise, Jane A.G., New York, NY: Hyperion, 1998, ISBN 0-7869-8289-1

The Art of Speedreading People, Tieger, Paul D. & Barron-Tieger, Barbara, New York, NY: Little, Brown & Co., 1998, ISBN 0-316-84525-6

Type Talk at Work: How the 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job, Kroeger, Otto & Thuesen, Janet M., New York, NY: Delta, 1993, ISBN 0-440-50928-9

Who We Are Is How We Pray: Matching Personality and Spirituality, Keating, Charles J., Myrtle, CT: Twenty-third Publications, 1987, ISBN 0-89622-321-3

Your Personality and the Spiritual Life: Understanding Who You Are Can Deepen Your Relationship with God, Johnson, Reginald, Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type, 1999, ISBN 0-935652-47-7