Connie Rossini has a dynamic spiritual growth plan for her children and perhaps yours. A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child is the first book in a series to support parents unfamiliar with the four temperaments as well as those well versed in the differences between their choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic children. As in academia, we don’t strive to push them so hard that they grow to hate it. We teach them the basics at their level.
A quick introduction to temperament theory: Hippocrates noted four patterns of behavior. Cholerics react quickly and hang onto their impressions. Sanguines also react quickly, but their feelings fade. Phlegmatics react mildly, with fading impressions. Melancholics react slowly, but hang onto their impressions.
Connie begins with the first temperament, choleric, that of her first child. She writes that the choleric is the temperament most likely to make a noticeable difference in the world. He may become famous or infamous – a saint or a tyrant. She encourages the parents of choleric children with:
God placed an awesome responsibility in your hands when he gave you this child. It is your job to help him overcome the tendencies that could make him a tyrant and strengthen the tendencies that could make him a saint. But don’t worry! God never gives a responsibility without giving the grace and aid to complete it. Even when you make mistakes, God will be there to make good come out of them.
A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child is complete with specific suggestions to help choleric children grow in prayer and virtue, teaching tips for homeschoolers, book lists, examples of saints and heroes, Bible verses to memorize, lesson plans and templates.
Before giving steps in spiritual change, she explains that although each temperament needs a slightly different motivational technique, they share some basic similarities. She learned to take into account her phlegmatic-melancholic temperament in dealing with her choleric child.
Over the years, I have come to recognize several steps that I go through before I make a major change in my spiritual life. I used to believe that cholerics were unteachable, largely because I was going about things the wrong way. My successes with my son have made me see that he too follows the same steps.
Raising and homeschooling four sons makes Connie an experienced and wise mother in handling a choleric child’s relationships with his parents, siblings and those in the larger world. She knows that each parent has a role in leading the choleric child to greater self-control, providing a home atmosphere reflecting an authentic Catholic culture, defusing power struggles and modeling good communication skills and spirituality. Fathers especially need to help their choleric sons control their anger, feel and show compassion, respect women and the vulnerable, and submit to God’s will. Fathers are influential in guiding their sons and daughters toward worthwhile opportunities and projects.
I especially liked what Connie wrote about giving the child a vision, such as servant leadership, by studying the life of Jesus in Gospel stories. She suggests following a specific sequence when leading children in doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and not just go from first to last. Along the way, the child is given saints and heroes to imitate that relate to the lesson plans, followed by lists of books and Scriptures specifically for choleric children.
The chapter on prayer development was profound and yet not complicated as she went through numerous forms of prayer methods. Then came examples of beautifully written guided meditations and I could imagine holy moments between parents and children.
Homeschooling parents and classroom teachers will find the plethora of resources stunning. Those teaching situations weren’t available to me in my child-rearing years, but I wish I’d had this book for guidance and support. My choleric grandchildren will benefit from what I’ve learned in this book. I look forward to reading about the next temperament in this series.
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Copyright 2015 Nancy Ward.