I have one word for you. Sanguine. Make that five words. My daughter is a sanguine.
If you’ve read Art and Laraine Bennett’s book The Temperament God Gave Your Kids,
you might be smiling right now. Sanguine children have a knack for putting smiles
on people’s faces.
A child with a sanguine temperament can be described as talkative, charming,
enthusiastic, adventuresome, interruptive, friendly, playful, and bouncy. Armed
with a never-ending flow of questions and ideas, my daughter is constantly “on.”
Where are we going today? … Can I invite a friend over? … Do I have swimming
lessons? … Let’s bake a cake! … Where are my scissors? And all this chatter typically
occurs before 7:00 a.m. (Wait! Did my daughter just ask for scissors?!) She bounces
out of her bedroom at the crack of dawn with a huge smile and a carpe diem spirit –
— lovely qualities that will help her set the world on fire one day, I’m sure. But let’s
lock up the kindling and matches for a few more years, please.
I do not share my daughter’s sanguine temperament; I am more of a melancholic.
When my daughter is playful, I am more introspective. Where she’s spontaneous
and bubbly, I am perfectionist and organized. While she’s talkative, I am serious.
I am in awe of her temperament, but it also leaves me drained. I’ve had to open
my heart and learn different parenting strategies that work for both of us. The Temperament God Gave Your Kids has proved most helpful for our family. Dare I
say it’s armed me with more courage to break out of my comfort zone in favor of
my daughter’s — to push myself into “out-of-temperament” experiences so that my
daughter can thrive?
Here’s an example.
I don’t like to shop. I don’t like malls. Get in, get out — let’s get the job done. It’s
a mentally draining activity for me. Conversely, my daughter loves the mall. The
people, the activity, and the sense of adventure — they all recharge her spirit. One
recent Saturday I needed to make a run to the mall to pick up a few things. On a
whim (or maybe Holy Spirit inspired!), I decided to turn the errand run into an
opportunity for a mommy-daughter date.
As my daughter and I walked out the door, my husband said to me, “No matter
how this goes, you’re still trying to do a good thing here.” He knows me all too well.
Melancholics like me have an inherent drive for perfection and tend to worry about
all the possible negative outcomes that can occur with a new venture or project. A
dozen or so scenarios of how this could all go wrong had already played out in my
mind. She’s my daughter, not my project. Thanks for the reminder, dear.
So mano-a-mano, our mommy-daughter date began. We visited a salon inside the
mall and enjoyed getting our nails painted. I was tickled to see how much the other
patrons enjoyed my daughter’s sunny personality. And I couldn’t help but chuckle
when one of the salon employees said, “Wow. She sure asks a lot of questions!”
You’re not joking, lady! Then we walked around the mall for a while. I noticed I had
an extra boost of energy and wasn’t worn out with my daughter’s social butterfly
tendencies like I so often am. And we capped off our date in a coffee shop where
she savored a cookie as I sipped a cup of joe. What lovely conversation we had just
the two of us. As our date came to an end, I noticed there was a bounce to my step.
I was giggling and enjoying being adventurous with her. Could it be that I needed
that mommy-daughter date more than she did? My husband was right; it was a good
thing to do.
In The Temperament God Gave Your Kids, the rally cry for parents of sanguines
is to “Enjoy this spirited child, who brings to your family magic and innocence,
enthusiasm and spontaneity.” And that’s exactly what my daughter brought to
me during our mommy-daughter date: magic and innocence, enthusiasm and
spontaneity. I’m so grateful God gave me a sanguine child.
Copyright 2012 Lisa Schmidt