Each of my children has a unique personality. Gracie, my nine-year-old and firstborn daughter, is strong, confident, and sure of herself. She is a go-to-girl type. She has an unwavering faith in what she believes. She is quick to lead others. With this personality comes a lack of patience for others and a lack of compassion, and a measure of bossiness. Recognizing her strengths and weakness when she was just a baby, I started praying that she would have wisdom and grace and love for others. I worked all the time teaching her to serve others. When she was a baby I would help her help Daddy. I would praise her for helping me, her daddy, and others, and she loved it. Today she is a servant to others without thought of herself—most of the time. Come on, she is only nine! 🙂 I have to work on her daily, reminding her to be considerate.

One day after church I had a great opportunity to show her what lack of consideration to others looks like. Gracie came home from church that Sunday and told me, “I was playing with the older girls and then their ‘boss’ came and made them go away, so I could not play with them anymore.” I did not have any idea who this “boss” could be, so I asked her about it. She explained to me that it was their friend, but that this particular friend made them do whatever she demanded, even if the girls did not want to. Gracie said, “That girl is not nice, just bossy!” I knew right away this was my chance to teach Gracie. I know this other girl, and yes, she is bossy and not nice all the time. She, like my daughter, is a go-to girl. I understand it is important that I teach Gracie to be considerate of others while she is still young. I asked her, “So she is controlling and bossy. Do you know someone like that?” She stopped talking and very sheepishly said, “Me.”

Today as we were talking about this article, I asked her what she thought and she said, “Good thing you are teaching me, for if you do not teach me to be a good girl, I will not be a good mom, and then my children will not be good moms and dads. And then it will just keep on going.” Ah, the wisdom of a child.

Knowing the weaknesses of her type has made a big difference in how I train her, homeschool her, and guide her.

— Shalom