If you have a second, check out this study. Essentially it followed 2400 children as young as 1st graders. Teachers had completed personality ratings of their students measuring talkativeness (verbal fluency), adaptability, impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior. 40 years later, researchers caught up with 144 of those individuals and conducted videotaped interviews. Click on this link for the full review if you are interested in the findings.
When I saw the personality attributes, I couldn’t help but think of my own children, and how their teacher would describe them. Pretty adaptable, not too impulsive, average intelligence. How would that translate into their adult personality? Will they be successful? Driven? Secure in themselves? How much influence do I have in helping them develop their personalities? What personality traits do I place value on and encourage? How does ones personality help define their character? I want nothing more than for my children to grow up as well adjusted, successful, content, Christ-centered adults.
The personality traits of this world are so often in opposition to our Christian walk. For instance, the self-minimizing behavior referenced above… Isn’t that really defined as being humble?
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” The article also made a negative reference to adults needing to seek advice. Isn’t this also contrary to what the Bible says? Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
I come from a medical background and find great value in research. I tend to agree with the article’s findings. Personality traits exhibited in our youth will continue to follow a child throughout their years. What I question is society’s measure of success. Are the personality traits I place value on in alignment with the world or the word? I’m not saying it can’t be both, but what I am saying is I’d much rather have my compass set to God’s standards.