Friday, December 31, 2010
INTJ mother: No… how are you trying to use it? Maybe I can help you find the word you’re looking for.
ISFP: I’m not trying to use it. It just came to me…. Can YOU use it in a sentence so I can figure it out?
INTJ: If it’s not a real word - has no actual meaning – there’s no way to use it in a sentence.
ISFP: But if it WERE a word, how would you use it?
INTJ: There’s no way for me to answer that. Without a meaning – because it ISN’T a real word – I can’t use it in a sentence.
ISFP: Okay… what would its meaning be, if it were a word?
INTJ: But it’s not a word. So how would I know its meaning?
ISFP: Well, if you’d just use it in a sentence, we could figure out its meaning.
INTJ: Are those lights flickering? I think you’ve induced a brain aneurysm.
I wish I were creative or funny enough to have made that up, but that was an absolute real conversation I had with my ISFP teenage son the other day (although there were just a few more “Who’s on First” loops before I escaped the exchange).
Now I’m sure an I/E NFP parent would have handled the conversation differently – perhaps played along and played “create a definition out of thin air” but as an INTJ that was not an instinctual direction for me to go.
How would you have responded? (Include your “Type” if you know it.)
Monday, December 27, 2010
Music is an emotional vehicle for me. It’s a way for me to interpret and process my life so it meant a great deal to me to be able to sing at his funeral. Although I felt my voice shaking as I sang the songs I chose, the lyrics of each would steward the story well and I believe Dad would have been pleased.
Thanks to the talents, generosity and help of my friend Joel Slater I was able to record the songs as a Christmas gift as a permanent memory of Dad. Each of the 4 songs I recorded reflect a different part of my relationship with Dad and although I’m no great vocalist, it gave me great closure to put it all together.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) - by Chris Tomlin (listen here)
Amazing Grace is my all-time favorite hymn. When I asked if my dad had a favorite hymn I could sing at his funeral, I didn’t expect that we would share this classic as our favorite. My father’s funeral was actually the forth that I’ve sung Amazing Grace at, but each time has been an entirely different rendition or version. It’s remarkable how this song can be so timeless and consistent yet so different from arrangement to arrangement, unique for each person and situation.
When I Get Where I'm Going - Brad Paisley (listen here)
When I first heard this song two years ago, I immediately knew this would be the anthem of my dad’s passing when that time came. In my mind, though, that time would not come for another 15 or more years, so I expected to have plenty of time to teach the song to my son to play and sing at the funeral, and I would merely accompany and harmonize. Though I enjoyed singing it, I regret not only that Dad’s time was cut way too short for my young musician to have prepared it, but that the boys never got the chance to know him well enough to know how appropriate this song was for him.
Finally Home – MercyMe (listen here)
This song is a truer reflection of my own heart in dad’s passing and is more my personal anthem for him. It took many rehearsals to get through the second line without getting choked up as I think every child wonders and hopes they have made their parents proud in whatever the path they’ve chosen in life, but it also reflects the security I have in an eternity with our Lord.
Better Than A Hallelujah - Amy Grant (listen here)
This song is for the hurting who remain – the survivors, if you will – those left behind in their grief. It came out this summer and it immediately spoke to me about the trials and suffering my family had endured in the last year – my own cancer, my husband’s health challenges, the financial struggles of one income - and how so very blessed I was by the prayers of others and how much closer I was drawn to God through those trials. Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
I want to say thank you, again, to Joel Slater who recorded and edited these songs and made me sound pretty good. A worship leader and Christian recording artist, check out some of Joel’s original music and buy his CD “Scattered” at http://www.joelslater.com/.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Nothing will humble what little creativity an INTJ may have than to spend 30 minutes in a room with a couple of UBER-creative, talented, soulful, remarkable and gifted ISFP and INFP musicians.
You see, recently I begged the help of my ISFP friend to help me record the songs I sang at my father’s funeral onto a CD. Besides having a heart of gold, this ISFP is one of the most talented people I know – a worship leader at prominent church in the DC area, has opened for major Christian artists, released his first album last year, in the process of cutting another – which is very daunting for a corporate executive INTJ square like me to sit down and sing my little songs into a microphone.
As an INTJ, of course, I am a perfectionist, highly critical of self, always seeking improvement so I’m never completely satisfied with anything I do. But knowing this about myself (and how annoying it can be for others to be around) I have learned to let go a bit and if someone I recognize as an authority says it’s good, I move on (well, physically anyway – mentally, I’m still in constant review.) So when my dear ISFP said a take was good, I accepted it as good. When he wanted me to repeat a section, I resisted the urge to repeat the entire thing 80 more times and just repeated that section identified.
The part I found typologically remarkable was the ISFPs joking comment of jealousy that each time I sang a particular song or section that it was almost identical to the time before. The consistency from take to take was apparently enviable (which, of course, if I’m repeatedly and identically singing a section poorly, I’m not sure why consistency would be an enviable trait) and in the back of my head I’m seeing one of those INTJ posters that have a picture of a robot and some comment about precision.
In the rehearsal after rehearsal that were a part of this INTJ’s process long before I showed up at the ISFP studio, my goal was precision so of course the outcome was precisely the same each time. I wish I knew a different way, could experience it a different way, feel it through an I*FP beat and taste the freedom of a true creative process that is counter intuitive for an INTJ.
The typological icing on this creativity cake was made by the kind, uber-talented INFP musician who composes, orchestrates new sheet music weekly and plays 173 different instruments at the church. As the ISFP is repeating his remark of jealousy at the INTJ consistency, the INFP says, “Well, of course. Lauren is always a consummate professional.” And then turns to me directly and says “and I mean that in the best possible way.”
Now wait – INTJ brain is going to have an aneurysm. How could “consummate professional” ever be a bad thing that it needs to be clarified as “meant in the best possible way?” Is that an “I*FP” thing? Do I need to “loosen up” fellas?
Relax. No offence taken. You can’t be an MBTI practitioner and see 3 dozen posters depicting the INTJ as a robot and not realize you come off as a bit stiff to others. I get it. The comment, though, was classic, and it would have been an MBTI loss not to share it.
So does NOT being a consummate professional equal more authentic creativity? Hmmmm... processing.... processing ... processing....
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
So much has happened in the year that followed, it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. Most importantly, I’m cancer free – PRAISE GOD! I’ve kept up with all of my follow up appointments – very uncharacteristic for me – and I have a new respect for “routine” checkups actually being a part of your routine.
So let’s put YOU on the spot. Have you kept up with your annual physicals and tests? Why should I, you say? I feel perfectly fine. So did I – so did my Dad. Both of us were blindsided by our cancer diagnoses – in good physical health otherwise – but only one of us is wearing the badge “survivor”. The other basks in the light of Christ, living out eternity with our Lord. Not a bad trade-off either way, I know, but is your family ready for that? Who will you be leaving behind or burdening with your illness if you don’t take care of yourself?
Have I gotten through yet? Not sure what you should be doing when ?
- Breast cancer - Mammograms may be recommended annually or semi-annually, depending on your individual health and doctor's preference.
- Cholesterol Both men and women should check this on an annual basis.
- Prostate - Men should add this to the yearly checkup list.
- Electrocardiogram - Both men and women should have this done, along with a stress test.
On our Thanksgiving trip to Arizona, the boys and I wanted to take my dad and step-mom’s horses out for a quick ride around the property. The most skilled rider in the group, I was elected to ride the most obnoxious horse, fondly nicknamed "Stupid." Now Stupid did his best to buck me off, but after 4 tries and 20 minutes, I was sure he’d given up. Thinking it was safe, my youngest got on the back with me and off we went to hit the trails. Not seven minutes down the road, Stupid lived up to his namesake and began bucking again. I managed to hold on (earned my rodeo hat on that one) but my young rider of 115 lbs and 13 years went flying straight up and landed square on his feet. Clearly, he has a future as a rodeo clown.
About 30 minutes later, 200 feet from the finish line of our ride, I let my guard down just as the horse got spooked by the ATV my 13-year-old had chosen as alternate transportation and Stupid bucked me right over his head, 20 feet into a cactus and a few rocks. No broken bones, some nasty bruises and many, many hair fine cactus needles that took two weeks to pick out of my hands and backside, I have keen recognition that I don’t bounce back like I did when I was 13 but I still look forward to my next ride.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
As I was driving the kids to church tonight, my youngest was doing his civics/economics homework in the front seat. They are working on the economy and household budgets and there was a big pie chart on one page that he started telling me about. X% of your income should go to rent, X% should go to medical (I told him they should have printed an addendum for those percentages in the DC area) and so on, but when he got to charitable giving, it said 1 – 3%. What?!? It lead to a great conversation about tithing and that charitable giving was in addition to tithing not a replacement of it (of course there was not “tithing” slice on the pie) and what other percentages might be shifted around to “fix” the text book’s pie chart. Can’t wait to see the teacher’s reaction to that rabbit trail in his homework!
Then when I came home and opened the mail today, there were two letters from my church. One was a letter from the Pastor to the congregation and one was the 3rd quarter summary statement of our family’s annual tithing. I have to say, I really like this 3rd quarter summary because it always makes me feel so blessed to have had the financial means to be faithful in my giving. It also helps me see the big picture and is often a catalyst for a reevaluation for “what more could I be doing?”
I had an unexpected reaction when I opened it today though…. I saw the number at the bottom and said to myself “What?!?! That’s all I gave this year?!?!” Now, there were two quickly forgotten things at play in my knee-jerk reaction… one was that I forgot there were still two more months of giving left in the year; the other was that I forgot my family had only had a single income for the first 6 months of the year. I knew what our current household income was so when I did the simple math of 10% I was coming up seriously short. I felt much better after I figured out my mental error and that I was ahead of the game, but that still begs the original question “what more could I be doing?”
The second letter was from Pastor Stokes to the members of the congregation about our annual giving to date and a budget shortfall of about $85,000. In an economy like this, I know that we are very lucky that this is the extent of our year-to-date shortfall but I can’t help but be disappointed in a shortfall of any kind. Our church staff work very hard to put together an amazing time of worship, fellowship and Biblical message each week and I feel like we’ve let them down that they should have to worry about $85,000 in the last two months of the year. I know we have the collective capacity to make this up – almost effortlessly – if we all commit to it. If every single person who walked through Fair Oaks Church’s doors gave an extra $7 a week for the remaining 6 weeks we’d make up the difference in no time – for the cost of a 2 Venti Lattes a week. You didn’t need all those calories anyway (500 in the seasonal favorite Pumpkin Spice Crème, by the way).
Fair Oaks Church does not typically “pass the plate” but this Sunday we’re going old-school so be prepared and reach deep my friends. And don’t forget you can always give on line by clicking HERE.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
My dad hated funerals… hated everything about them – the premise, the process, the pomp and circumstance – all of it. He would have hated the idea of a bunch of people sitting around sadly and somberly eulogizing him, paining over his death rather than embracing their own life and celebrating his. Growing up, I’d heard him make disgruntled remarks about eulogies specifically that if people had nice things to say about you, they should tell you while you’re alive so you can appreciate it, not wait until your dead and you never hear how they felt about you. (Of course, I might argue that you don’t always know how people feel about you).
Having had a little taste of my own mortality last year when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, I had a renewed appreciation for Dad’s sentiment. My eulogistic urge, though, was less about telling people how I feel before they die and more about making sure I said things in case I die. Although my battle with cancer was quick and I was cancer free by February, the following June I took the opportunity to share with my dad some of the moments in our relationship that were important to me and posted it here on my blog as a Father’s Day tribute.
Although it became even more important after he passed away so quickly with little time to squeeze in those kinds of conversations, but it also meant a lot to me at the time that the tribute meant so much to him to receive it for Father’s Day. He wrote me, “Every time I read it I get choked up. It is beautiful. Some of the things you talked about took me some time to remember but other things were as clear as yesterday. I still wonder why you would come to me and throw up, oh well.” (I guess you’ll have to read it to know what that last reference was about.)
It was very cool to connect with family I hadn’t seen in decades (for better or for worse, funeral are always good for that) and have some “small-world” moments that we’re really not so far away from each other to have let the relational gap to remain. It was also great for me to hear everyone’s stories about Dad… things that make you say “oh, that’s so classic Dad” or “wow, I didn’t know that about Dad” or best yet, “oh that is so ‘me’ – I guess that’s where I get it.” One of the things I thought was most interesting is that no one seemed to know my dad sang. He’d thrown a big party for the church’s choir at one point and I assumed that he was “in” the choir, but no. Not only was he not in the choir, but they didn’t even know he sang.
Since music was one of the earliest connections between Dad and I, in meant a great deal to me to be able to honor him at his funeral by singing. Amazing Grace was one of his favorite Hymns so I sang Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone” and for the cowboy in my dad, I sang Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton’s “When I Get Where I’m Going.” And although I felt my voice shaking through the whole thing (like Dolly Parton’s vibrato on steroids), I think the lyric choices really honored Dad and he would have been pleased.
I also think Dad would have been pleased with the celebration and “party” that followed his service. Led off by Pastor Mark’s remarks during the service about scotch (the Presbyterian equivalent to the Catholic’s sacramental wine, I think) right into the heavily imbibed party back at the Ranch, this was one funeral and celebration of life my dad wouldn’t have complained about attending. But far more important, Dad was at the party we all aim for – the one with our heavenly Father when we are welcomed home for an eternity with our Lord.
Love you, Dad. Hope you’re singing in God’s choir and saving me a spot next to you!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
For me, having missed the Kennedy assassination by just a couple years, the big news story I always identified with “where were you when” was the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Our school was following the Challenger flight pretty closely as it was the first space shuttle to take a school teacher along. Over 11,000 teachers applied and even though it wasn’t our teacher that made it, it opened the door of possibilities that not just astronauts can go to outer space. I was actually in astronomy class (believe it or not) when a student came running through the science wing shouting the news into each class room and we all just sat there stunned – teacher included – by the news. There was an element of disbelief until the announcement came over the PA system. Nothing else happened that day, we didn’t continue on to our next classes when the bell rang, but clustered around radios to listen to the news reports. My husband, who was already been in college at that time, had no recognition of all that happening and placed no life-memory importance on it. Perhaps it was regional, perhaps it was because I was still in high school and the school placed importance on it where a college likely wouldn’t. Anyone else remember that?
September 11th. Nothing regional about that. It’s not just the people in New York, DC or Pennsylvania that remember. It’s not just the people who work in the airline industry or the WTC or the Pentagon who remember. It’s not even limited to the US in the impact it had on peoples’ lives from the macro to the micro.
I was living in Florida at the time and I was working for a military weapons manufacturer. I saw someone run past my office down to the CEO’s office – they’d heard it on the radio and ran down to his office because he had a small black and white TV. Before I could even get out from behind my desk to see what was going on, three more people went running by. When I got down there, the grainy rabbit-eared picture on the screen was showing the picture of the first tower burning and before anyone could explain what had happened, the second tower was hit right before our eyes. A state of shock… but only for a moment. We quickly turned to each other and did a management risk-assessment. We manufacture weapons for the military, President Bush was just up the road from us visiting his brother Jeb who was beginning to campaign for his second 4-year term as Governor and we honestly wondered if we could be in a convenient target area. We didn’t really give it much weight, but after the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, we began to wonder if we should have.
The boys were 1st grade and preschool at the time. I asked them this morning if they had any independent memories from that day (versus memories of what they’ve been told) and they were just too young. Derek, who was older, remembers that they gathered all the kids to the center of the school court yard to tell them what had happened and the following year they had a memorial and sang a song at that same spot. For Quinn, in preschool, they probably didn’t say anything to the kids at all.
It’s interesting how every generation has that “something” that they identify with of remembering where they were what a particular thing happened. Perhaps it was President Reagan being shot, perhaps it was Hurricane Katrina hitting the Gulf, perhaps it was Apollo 11 landing on the Moon – there are many memorable news events to identify with over the years and generations, but September 11th stands in a rare and exclusive category.
I asked the boys, now teenagers, if there has been a news story in their lifetime that they identify with in this way and they both said there really wasn’t anything. Part of me was relieved that, with the way the media places importance on things that aren’t really important, that they didn’t answer something like “Michael Jackson’s death” or “Lindsay Lohan’s arrest” but the other part of me recognized that we can be quite certain that it will be something – something that has yet to happen – that will be ever burned in their memories as the day their perception of the world or society we live in changed forever.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Now, I've done the fried egg in the middle of the pancake before and the boys love it (me too) and this one was a variation of that. Now I'll tell you, the first time I tried the fried egg in the middle of the pancake, I was pretty happy with myself that I only destroyed the first one in the flipping process. But by the second one, I'd drawn the perfect hollow circle of pancake batter, cracked the egg into the center and flipped it without breaking the yoke for the perfect over-easy egg surrounded by a golden buttermilk pancake.
So as I decided to try this pancake with sausage circle filled with scrambled eggs I thought "how hard can this be?" Four funky-looking blobs later, I decided there has to be a better way. The cook on TV poured the batter circle, decorated the batter with sausage, poured the eggs in the hole, flipped it and voila! Unfortunately, every time I flipped it, the sausage prevented the flip side batter from touching the griddle (like stilts) and the second side didn't brown or lay flat. Don't get me wrong, it still tasted great but it just didn't look right.
My Solution? I put the sausage in a circle on the skillet first (like clock numbers) and poured the pancake batter over it to create my circle and then filled with the eggs and ... voila! Now that's pretty AND tastes great. Try it! The restaurant that was making it also did it with bacon in stead of sausage. I bet that would be good too.Yum!
Happy Birthday Derek!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
If you’ve listened to Contemporary Christian Music at all, you’ve probably heard the song I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe. This song spoke to me the very first time I heard it on a multitude of levels.
It’s become a very popular song at funerals (I’ve actually sung it at a funeral myself) because of its inspiring message of wonder and hope, but to me, where it speaks loudest in my life, is the unrestrained joy of eternally serving my Lord.
My favorite line in the song is “I can only imagine when all I will do is forever, forever worship You.”
Music has been a central theme in my personal and spiritual development - I wasn’t even a year old before I started pawing at my dad’s guitar. I even tend to “mark” my life by music – a song that represents an event or something I was going through – refreshing that memory every time I hear it. To this day, when I hear “Here I Am To Worship” I am brought back to the moment of my salvation when I gave my life to Christ, tears streaming down my face as voices sing “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross….”
When I sing “when all I will do is forever, forever worship You” it is the most exciting part of my vision of eternity in Heaven with my Lord. Yes, of course, worship is so much more that just singing or playing music, but it is the most natural way I connect with God and I believe he wired me that way for a purpose.
I have been so blessed, honored… humbled even, that for the last year and a half I have gotten to experience just a taste of Heaven on Earth as I have served a auxiliary role in the worship ministry at Fair Oaks Church. Being a part of the team that leads worship for the Wednesday night services has been an amazing personal and spiritual journey for me, but more so in those moments when others have let me know that something we sang had special meaning for them or that they were moved by it – well, THAT’s what it’s all about and I know I am fulfilling God's purpose.
This week, the staff and leadership at Fair Oaks Church had to make a very difficult decision. As the church grows and energies could get split in so many directions - it was time to reevaluate and focus on the essentials. It was announced this week that Fair Oaks Church would be discontinuing the Wednesday services to dedicate more energy to everything happening on Sunday on our campus (which is so much more than just the two services!).
I have full trust that every decision my church leadership makes is God-led and support them unconditionally. On a personal level – having felt a bit like I was just expelled ... from Heaven – I went through a tissue or two, which is a bit uncharacteristic for me. I cried less when I was processing the news of my cancer diagnosis. But I trust God as he closes this door that He will open a window to where He wants me to be, and so will I wait. (I’ve gotten very good at that over the last couple of years.)
I want to thank Joel Slater, Mike Zizolfo and Debby White for seeing something in me, for seeing my heart for God and blessing me with this amazing opportunity to help lead others in their worship during the Wednesday services. It has been a true honor and blessing to work with talented and godly musicians like Adam Miller, Nate Miller and Phillip Bassham who also brought their heart for the Lord as well as their instruments every Wednesday and to many practices. It was a joy to work with you, play with you, and worship with you, my brothers!
Stay tuned for new and exciting things to come at Fair Oaks Church. I’ve been there long enough to know that when one ministry is retired, something really cool is around the corner.
Over the summer, the Wednesday praise band had been working on some new music, and one in particular I wanted to share because it captures how how special that small group of people who would meet on Wednesday night are. It has meant so much to me to be a part of this gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ and not just benefit from an amazing bonus sermon from Pastor Stokes, but to be able to share our brokenness with one another and lift each other up in prayer.
This is the song that will forever "mark" this chapter in my spiritual walk.
At the end of a terrible day, you need a quiet evening with a book to shake it off, but your spouse needs an evening out with friends to unwind from a bad day. You need a check list to get things done, but your teenager needs the TV and the iPod going to get their homework finished. These simple differences can create havoc in the home if you don't understand them. The MBTI is a great tool for gaining insight into your spouse or... children to improve communication and understanding while reducing conflict.
2 million people a year take the MBTI, usually through their employer, to help them make constructive use of their differences and promote understanding and effective cooperation. Those same basic MBTI principles applied to couples and families can improve communication and interpersonal relationships, promoting positive attitudes towards different styles, and facilitate understanding, appreciation and respect between husband and wife and parents and children.
In the summer of 2010, I was privileged to have the opportunity to bring these concepts together in a marriage and parenting workshop at Fair Oaks Church (see dails here). I have been working with the MBTI for years as a business and coaching tool, but have been a great beneficiary of its application in my family life.
It was a great joy to be able to share the tool with other married couples and parents and have already seen fruits of success from the MBTI seeds planted during that workshop!
This workshop will be offered again at Fair Oaks Church in the Fall of 2010. If you think you may be interested, you can keep your eye out for it by signing up for Fair Oaks Church's E-Newsletter at http://www.loudonpurpose.com/.
I had the honor of discussing this topic on the air with Pastor Stokes while he was sitting in as guest host for the Don Kroah show on WAVA 105.1 FM. Listen here: Radio Interview
For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
When you and your spouse know your own types AND know each other’s types, it can help you with understanding your spouse better, appreciating your spouse’s differences and unique contribution to the marriage, recognizing the reasons for conflict or difficulty which enables two-way discussions that achieve healthier resolutions, and recognizing your spouse’s needs from the marriage which will enable you to work together in a way that both of your needs are met.
Although the materials in this website are focused on the relationships between husband and wife and parent and child, the “family” that you will have relationships with, communicate with, have expectations of, are so much more than your spouse and your children.
Everyone has the overly competitive brother who gets you bickering like a 12-year-old every time he visits or the mother-in-law that knows how to push your buttons (even through the phone) or the uncle who doesn’t communicate with the family for months at a time and just shows up on your doorstep for a surprise visit and stirs everyone up.
You may never know what their 4-letter Type is, but the more you know about your own, the more you’ll be able to deduce about theirs, and the more you will be able to recognize patterns of behavior which you will see through a different lens (the MBTI lens) and be more understanding or tolerant of.
For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
Were the two of you meant to be together? Did your 4-letter preferences influence your attraction to each other or was this God’s plan from the beginning? How about BOTH! Reflecting back on Proverbs 22:6, if God wired us each with our own “bent” and that bent can be defined through the language of personality Type, that God may have designed you with your Type with the express purpose of drawing you to your spouse’s Type.
Now, the MBTI can’t (and shouldn’t) be used to select the “right” spouse (or dismiss a potential mate). There are no magical combinations that make the perfect couple and no horrible combinations that are destined for divorce.
It is interesting, however, that research can show us patterns of choices that people tend to make for their spouse. It doesn’t make one set of choices better or worse, just more or less common.
For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
We often here that opposites attract, but research would support that, if anything, similarity attracts more than difference. The most common Type combinations between husband and wife are with 2 or 3 letters in common.
Looking deeper, people tend to choose partners who are more similar in their functions (S/N and T/F) and primarily the perceiving function (S/N). Where the “opposites attract” is more likely to play a role are in the attitudes (I/E and J/P). Ironically, it’s in the attitude areas that cause the most conflict when they are opposites, especially the outer-world orientation (J/P).
Are there certain Types that may have an easier time understanding each other and communicating? Perhaps. Are there certain Types that are more prone to conflict and misunderstanding? Probably. But rather than focusing on those differences as opportunities for conflict, perhaps focus on what God wants you to gain from this pairing of Types. Did He bring a Judger together with a Perceiver to help one learn to relax and go with the flow more while teaching the other to be more direct and organized? Or perhaps the different combinations are simply the gift of "heavenly sandpaper" and they were sent to refine you (or you, them).
There are 16 different Types that each husband and wife could be, creating 136 possible combinations. Just as each Type is unique, each of the different combinations has unique attributes, benefits and challenges that are consistently observed in that Type-union.
Two of the best resources for couples looking to explore Type more deeply as a tool in their marital toolkit are Just Your Type by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger, and 16 Ways to Love Your Lover by husband & wife team Otto Kroeger & Janet M. Thuesen.
Just Your Type gives a specific breakdown of each of the 136 combinations, identifying the joys, the frustrations, and specific type-to-type tips to reaching your partner. Many of the type-to-type descriptions are quite applicable to other family relationships like parent to child and between siblings.
16 Ways to Love Your Lover approaches Type and marriage in a more organic way covering how Type plays a role in the different aspects of marriage such as communication, sex and intimacy, finances, and conflict. This is light and informative read that will have you chuckling out loud and reading passages to your spouse.
When Mom and Dad both know and understand their Type, it can be a great benefit to the co-parenting team. When parents have different preferences, children get the opportunity to experience a balance and variety of styles from Mom and Dad. This can help the child feel freer to explore and express their own type preferences when they can connect with one parent or the other in different areas of their Type.
When parents’ have many preferences in common with each other, it’s easier to establish a home environment that well-defined and consistent. If the children also share those preferences, they will feel in sync with Mom and Dad, but children with opposite preferences may feel disconnected from the family and a bit like an outsider.
Parents with similar Types can be great at creating a unified front with the kids, but it can also leave them a bit short-handed and perhaps resentful when they need a rescue from their own blind spots and their partner is struggling in the same area.
When parents have mostly different Type preferences, they have a great advantage in being able to call on their partner’s differences when they aren’t syncing with a particular child in an area. If a child of opposite preferences are exhausting one parent, the other parent can provide relief for their partner who might be energized by that same behavior.
Parents with different Types can complement each other’s weaknesses nicely but those same differences can also be a source of conflict and they should be cautious of letting children sense that conflict and misinterpret a preference they share with one parent or the other as bad.
For more information on the MBTI, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
Friday, July 23, 2010
We have always been a two-income family – it’s a financial necessity, not a lifestyle option. We’ve certainly never lived a lavish lifestyle – never even been able to buy a house, but we were saving for one… along with saving for the boys’ college and retirement and the unknown rainy day. So in February of 2008 when the rain of unemployment came for Edward we felt slightly prepared financially for a short-term gap but greatly prepared spiritually that it was part of God’s plan and that He would open new doors and always take care of us.
Being the chronic planner that I am (which I’m sure gives God a good laugh from time to time) I sat down and mapped out our finances to see how long the severance and savings would take us and I knew it would be several months before we really had to panic. But since you never know, we started making deep cuts to most of the non-essentials, but having faith that something would come through before the reserves dried up, we still continued to contribute to retirement, college fund, pay extra to the credit cards, but first and foremost, tithe.
It never even occurred to us to cut tithing out of the budget. Everything we had, whatever amount that was now, was still all from God. We were going to be trusting Him with our lives and our future why would we suddenly stop trusting Him with our finances? Of course, we had no idea that shortly after Edward became unemployed, the market would crash, our retirement would lose almost half its value, unemployment levels in this country would reach record highs and it would be over 2 years of faith and finances tested. But each day at a time, each week at a time we had faith that God would provide when the time was right and take care of us until that time came... until His time came.
On my financial spreadsheet (which I fondly nicknamed the countdown to poverty) I had drawn a line in the financial sand that was the official “panic point.” And by God’s miracle, every time we got close to it, God pulled us away from it. Over these last two years we experienced miracle after miracle as unexpected needs were met with unexpected resources. Sometimes it felt like God was just dropping money out of the sky when we needed it. When the car needed repairs, I got a promotion at work; when money was tight at Christmas, an anonymous donor from our Fair Oaks Church family paid for the boys to go to Winter Meltdown; when I was diagnosed with cancer and needed surgery, our tax refund exactly covered all my medical bills and deductible; the list goes on and on. Every time we had a specific need or came close to our financial “panic point,” God came through or sent one of his angels.
Over these past several of years, I have been blessed abundantly at work with several promotions and with each one, I immediately increased my tithe and was blessed again. And not only did we continue to faithfully tithe all this time, but somehow we managed to never miss a bill, pay off one car and two credit cards, and last month, feeling so blessed by God, we stepped out on faith and signed up for a regular online donation to Vision T.O. and within days, Edward got his job.
And as if all that wasn’t testament enough to God’s hand in our life and our checkbook, here’s the real miracle….
After Edward got his job we sat down to layout a financial recovery plan (there’s me planning and God laughing again) and realized that in this last year alone, the outgoing expenses that we actually paid exceeded the money that came in by over $60,000. How is that possible? Mark 9:23, that’s how! We sure didn’t have that kind of money in some reserves or savings. No credit cards. God paid those. I don’t know how He did it, but I sincerely believe that our faithfulness to trust God with our lives and our finances and to continue to tithe without fail was returned to us in blessings 10 fold.
And the final miracle was that on the day Edward got his job, our savings account was within $30 dollars of the exact balance it was the day we started this journey. Again, how can that be? Luke 6:38!
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
There is no doubt in my mind that God took care of us and stretched what we had to meet our needs because we trusted Him to. We trusted Him with our future and we trusted Him with our finances and only begins with tithing.
Now if that’s not a modern-day miracle of Biblical proportion, I don’t know what is.
Friday, June 25, 2010
….or, 31.29 months
….or, 2.40 years
….or, 2 years, 4 months and 20 days
But who’s counting?
Without question, Edward and I are filled with joy to be putting this agonizingly long chapter of our lives behind us, but there are parts of it that I walk away knowing they were some of the best years of our family’s history and growth.
If God had given us a sneak preview and told us that Edward would be without work for nearly 2 ½ years, I’m quite sure I would have experienced some severe anxiety and been tempted to doubt that God knew what He was doing.
But because God only lights our path one step at a time, it actually made it easier, not harder, to put our hope in Him each day – having ultimate confidence that He would keep His promise and take care of us and reward us for our faithfulness and trust.
And He did! It’s still remarkable to me that we were able to stretch my single income and our savings this long, all while faithfully tithing to our church and giving to other charities, and we’ve never missed a household payment. Sure, there are many things we’ve done without and our family savings account is way behind where it could have/should have been by now, but some of life’s best lessons came from this chapter, many I hope to carry into the next.
I learned that God has always got my back. God has a plan and it's always better than mine. And God's timing is perfect! People can say those things, and they can’t believe they mean it, but not until it’s really tested with life’s trials can you really know you meant it.
I learned there’s a lot I can live without. God knows, we didn’t live a lavish lifestyle before, but even things like going to the movies every Saturday. For four people it’s almost $80 dollars a trip, over $4000 a year. Although my teenagers may disagree, cutting back and only going to the movies once every few months didn’t cause any lasting psychological damage and it made the trip to the theatre that much more special.
I learned celebrations are richer without the presents. I suppose as adults, we all actually “know” that, but when we reinforce the opposite message with our actions, it’s hard to sell that message to our kids. Christmas and birthdays especially had probably gotten excessive, especially for the kids. But establishing a “one-gift” expectation really made you appreciate the value of that one gift and drew the focus back to the purpose of the celebration.
I learned that we have really good kids. Well, of course I already knew that, but they have been real troopers with all the things that we’ve had to cut back on and are more appreciative of the things we are still able to do and get. Today we took the kids to the movies for the first time in months and I think they thanked us four or five different times. They’ve grown a lot through this chapter, in more ways than one.
Edward and I were also very humbled by how incredible, generous, caring and thoughtful our family, friends and especially our Fair Oaks Church family are. Not that there was ever a doubt that those characteristics applied, but more, perhaps, that we were deserving recipients of the friendships, prayers and generosities extended. Edward and I are both introverts and pretty quiet people and I think we were a bit surprised that with all the many people who might need support (whether it be a well timed prayer or the delivery of a home cooked meal) that we would be on anyone's radar.
One of the things that I things that meant the most to me during this chapter, and that I will actually miss, was the low-hanging-fruit opportunities to witness to people asking how I could be so positive and full of joy and hope while watching my financial security and life savings evaporate before my eyes and not knowing when or if things would ever turn around. Talking about my security being in God’s sovereign will for my life and knowing that things would turn around just in time – God’s time – and how much God was blessing our lives in other ways, were a great window of opportunity.
Now, as we anticipate what the next chapter holds for the Yost family, I am grateful for the lessons learned over the last 2 ½ years and can’t wait to see how God is going to use us and what He is going to teach us next.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
When I was little, I called my dad “Daddy Guy.” I don’t why … and I don’t know if I actually remember that or if I just remember being told that, but darn cute just the same, right?
My earliest and most enduring memory of my dad was of him playing the guitar. One of my favorite pictures of my dad and me was of me at about 8-months old sitting on his lap between him and his guitar, me peaking over the top to watch his fingers. The photo, unfortunately, was lost in hurricane Katrina (but that’s another story).
There was always music in the house growing up. Sometimes we would just sit around in the living room with one of Dad’s favorite song books and sing. A great memory. Dad’s electric (a vintage Supro that he still has and I covet) was very cool, but the one he played the most (and the guitar from the lost picture) was the Giannini classical acoustic which was made in Brazil. I have that one now and it’s the one I started teaching my son Derek on years ago.
When I was in the first grade, I had Pneumonia and was home sick for several weeks. I remember one day after my dad got home from work, he sat down on the couch to watch TV and I came out and sat with him to watch a bit. I snuggled up next to him and put his arm around me and I promptly started vomiting all over him. My dad swiftly scooped me up in his arms and started running my down the hall to the bathroom, me vomiting the whole way, with my mom chasing after us yelling “Stoooooooop!!! I rather clean one spot than three rooms!” A classic memory.
A true testament to my geek-dom, one of my favorite memories of my dad is when I was in the 2nd grade (or so) and he helped me with my math homework. It was dividing single and double digit numbers onto three and four digit numbers and I was struggling with all the steps to remember in the long division. My dad (an engineer) looked at it, somewhat dismissed the need to learn that stupid-long-division crap, showed me the short way (which – light bulb - made total sense to me) and I walked away thinking my dad was a genius. He had taught me some "secret trick" that my dumb old teacher probably didn’t even know (I thought). I looked at my dad very differently after that. It may have been the first time I realized he was a person outside of being my dad in our house, and that I really had no idea who that was. A transformative memory.
A couple of years later, my dad came to my class for career day and demonstrated a safety restraint that he had designed for General Motors (a seatbelt to all the other 4th graders) but I remember thinking how cool it was that my dad invented that. I actually blogged about that and Dad’s patent back in April (Embrace Life).
My Father and Bride dance at my wedding was one of my favorite moments with dad. It’s one of those things that I’d always wanted to do as a part of a girl’s “dream wedding.” It wasn’t something that we got to rehearse so I was surprised how perfect it was and discovered that my dad is a really good dancer. So good he made me look good, like we’d been dancing together for years. He made that moment perfect for my wedding day. A precious memory.
When the boys were just 1 and 2-years old, my life took a hard left for the surreal and my young family ended up moving in with my dad and Sandy for 6 months. What could have easily felt like a major life setback ended up being such a blessing… especially for the boys. At just a few years old, the boys got to experience a concentrate of their grandparents just before they moved out to Arizona which created a lasting bond and memories that might have otherwise been a void. Of course, I have a lot of fond memories of my own during that 6 months as well. As a young adult and early in my professional career, I was able to have conversations with my dad on a level we’d really never experienced before together. It was cool and I wouldn’t have traded that time for anything. A personal growth memory.
So here were are, Father’s Day, and the last time I actually saw my dad was for a Father’s Day trip he made out to the DC area in 2006. Edward and I took him and my stepmom out to Gettysburg for a horseback ride through the battlefield. I wish we could afford to see each other more often (trips out West are way overpriced) so for now, this trip down memory lane is the closest thing to a visit we can afford.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
When I’m working with couples, parents and families, there’s rarely a situation where knowledge and application of Type wouldn't benefit the individual communication issues so I frequently use it in those one-on-one settings.
In all the years I’ve been conducting MBTI workplace workshops and been using Type with families, I’ve never actually put the two together and prepared a workshop curriculum for marriage, parenting or kids … until now.
More of a draft at this point, I’ve put together and 86 page booklet (which needs to be much shorter), traded my tried and true PowerPoint for about a dozen poster-sized visuals and trying to take what is realistically 4 hours of material and hoping I can do it justice in the 90 minutes allotted for this maiden voyage.
After testing the waters with this upcoming “Personality Type and Parenting” workshop, my plan is to develop and deliver a more traditional ½ day workshop this summer followed by one targeted for married (or soon to be married) couples and one for kids and their parents together.
There may be other family oriented MBTI workshops out there (although, I certainly found no canned curriculum for one that a practitioner could buy) the thing I enjoyed the most in pulling these materials together was discovering that there are still things I can learn about Type and Type Dynamics and the challenge of figuring out how to best layer in a spirituality element into the program.
Although in the workplace, my workshops really must be straightforward and secular, the consulting I do “off the clock” allows me to choose opportunities that can reflect who I am as a Christian and incorporate Christian elements into helping people discover not only how they can best communicate in their earthly relationships, but perhaps look further in how they communicate in their heavenly relationships. How does a person’s 4-letter type and personality preferences impact how they communicate, love, parent and worship?
I don’t believe God and psychology are separate. And a parent can’t ever be the best parent they can be if they’ve checked God at the door. In reality, there are more formal resources (books, articles, websites) connecting MBTI to spirituality than there are on MBTI and parenting.
My favorite translation of Proverbs 22:6 is the one that starts “Train up a child according to his bent…” because it makes clear that God has hard wired us – given us a “bent” of some kind – with a specific personality that should be appreciated for what it is, not forced to be something it’s not.
I my search for new parenting and Type resources, I’ve collected a few trusted websites (along with a few new pages of my own) that may be of use to you in your parenting journey. As always, if you find other sites that you find reliable and consistent with CPP’s standards, please share them.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Your ideas about parenting – what it should be and what it shouldn’t be – began forming when you were a child. A cherished moment with your dad that you looked forward to having with your own son some day, or the teenage declaration of “when I have kids, I’m never doing that,” there were elements of your mom & dad’s parenting that “fit” your expectations and style and some that did not.
Surely not an issue of “good parenting” versus “bad parenting” or of being a “good child” or a “bad child,” many of these style compatibilities and differences are due to your personality “Type” similarities or differences. And for any one who has two or more children, you already know, what may be the perfect approach for one child, will inevitably be the absolute wrong approach for the other child.
How can that be? They were raised in the same home with the same parents, with the same values and teachings, yet they are so very different from each other.
Or perhaps you find one of your children a breeze to parent (the one your spouse is frequently frustrated by?) and the other child, is just a struggle to get through to (yet your spouse gets along with that child fine.) The answer will most likely come down to Type – your personality preferences as defined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (or MBTI) – starting first with yours, as a parent, but also in the type of your child if you are able to discern it.
Most of us have fantasized that the best relationships are effortless. Whether it be happily-ever-after marriages, friendships that transcend time and space, or a bond between parent and child that supersedes the need to work at it. We'd all like to believe that our most intimate relationships are unconditional, and strong enough to endure any challenge, but the reality that all good relationships require effort.
Somewhere along the line we’re told this about marriage, and although we resist the idea that it actually applies to our marriage, eventually we figure out that marriage is actually work. What’s interesting is that we don’t naturally transfer that recognition of “good relationships are hard work” to our parent/child relationships.
For some, there is an inherent expectation that the parent will be a respected authority and the child will be compliant and obedient. That may work if both parent and child are Sensor/Judgers (SJ temperament) who have a natural bent for traditional roles, authority, obedience, loyalty, duty, etc. but SJs only make up 38% of the population (with even lower odds that both will be SJs), leaving a vast majority of parent’s and children with a natural bent for miscommunication, misunderstandings and conflict.
Although different relationships have very different characteristics and specific needs, there are two basic areas which seem to be critical to the success of all relationships: Expectations and Communication.
What do we expect from ourselves and the other person involved in the relationship? How do we communicate these expectations, and our feelings and opinions to the person in the relationship? And (most importantly) how does our personality Type affect our expectations and methods of communication?
As a parent, knowing your own Type is a good start, but having a knowledge and understanding of the personality preferences of the other people in the home can substantially improve communication, level-set expectations and reduce conflict (see Parenting Pyramid).
For more information about Type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” - Colossians 3:20-21
For more information about Type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
Ages 2 to 6
For children between the ages of 2 to 6, the “attitudes” of energy flow and outer-world orientation begin to show themselves allowing us to identify 2 out of 4 of the preferences, the first and the last letters of the four letter Type. From observing their behaviors, we can recognize:
Extraverted Perceivers (EP)
Introverted Perceivers (IP)
Extraverted Judgers (EJ)
Introverted Judgers (IJ)
Ages 7 to 12
Between the ages of 7 and 12, the child's auxiliary function is often not exercised enough to be recognized through observed behaviors. The dominant function, determined by their outer-world orientation, is much more obvious. Accordingly, we can identify 3 out of 4 of the personality preferences for children aged 7-12. They are as follows:
Extraverted Sensing (ESP)
Introverted Sensing (ISJ)
Extraverted Intuition (ENP)
Introverted Intuition (INJ)
Extraverted Feelers (EFJ)
Introverted Feelers (IFP)
Extraverted Thinkers (ETJ)
Introverted Thinkers (ITP)
To narrow in on all four preferences for the 7 -12 group, there is an MBTI based assessment called the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children®. The MMTIC is designed for Type assessment up to the age of 18, but since the MBTI is written on a 7th grade level, children 13 and up can typically take the traditional MBTI for assessment.
Ages 13 and Up
By the age 13, a child's baseline personality is fairly set, and we can usually identify which of the sixteen "adult" personality types a teenager fits into through observable behaviors as well.
Adult Type Development
Type development is the life-long process of gaining greater command over the functions of perception and judgment. This implies a greater sense of quality in their use.
Type theory asserts that we each have and use all four of the “functions” (S, N, T and F) but, as driven by our preferences, we use them in a specific and strict order – Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior. In layman’s terms, we develop our preferred functions first, then our non-preferred functions.
The stages of adult Type Development are:
1. Development of excellence in the favorite, dominant process.
2. Adequate but not equal development of the auxiliary for balance.
3. Use of each of the four functions for tasks for which they are best fitted.
In theory, full type development occurs by the time a person reaches the age of 50 and, although Type is hard-wired and doesn’t change, someone with fully developed preferences and non-preferences can demonstrate behaviors as both S & N and both T & F as needed in any given circumstance.
For more information about Type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.
Just like the nutritional food pyramid that advocates fruits and vegetables as the foundation of a healthy diet, followed by grains and dairy, and then a sparing consumption of fats and sugars, the balanced “nutrition” of parenting uses a similar pyramid showing where to put your attention for healthy family dynamics and effective parenting.
Knowing and understanding the personality Type of your spouse and children can greatly enhance the communication and help establish clear and reasonable expectation within the family dynamics.
Ultimately, the more you know and understand yourself and the other members of the family and what motivates the actions they take and the decisions they make, the easier it is to anticipate behavior, adjust the communication style to turn a potential problem into a “teachable moment” and reduce the volume of correction, discipline and punishment needed.
Parents are freed up to focus on connecting with and loving their kids in a way that resonates with their Type. Learning how to communicate and adapt to each other’s needs and styles will replace the volume of time spent on conflicts and arguments. Discipline will get the least of the family time and attention.
“Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” - Proverbs 1:8-9