Do you think that birth order has an effect on the personalities of your children? I’ve considered this many times especially now that the boys (B1 and B2) have gotten older. I even read an article about it once a few years ago. The article was talking specifically about birth order as it relates to career choices. It went something like this.
The firstborn child would choose a career based mainly on it’s income potential. For example a firstborn child may choose to be an investment banker, attorney, accountant, or something along those lines because a career like that would tend to place them in a pretty secure financial place. They may not enjoy their career, but that is not the point, the point is they are in a career that they hope will offer some financial stability. Got that, good.
Now, the second born child tends to do quite the opposite. The second born is more likely to be a public service person (policeman, fireman, military, etc.), teacher, zoo keeper, minor league baseball player, putt putt golf owner (OK, I made up the last 3 but you get the point). The second born tends to be driven to find a career that they enjoy, who cares about the money if their happy with what they are doing. They get great pleasure in doing jobs that are gratifying.
At the time I read this article I was a parent to two children so I can not rely what it said about any later born children, although I would be interested now to know.
I’ve also heard that the first born children tend to choose more intellectual jobs and later born children tend to choose jobs in the arts. They cite the reason for this is because the parents would likely put more pressure to succeed on the first child and less on the later born children. Which begs the question, how much of an influence are you as parents in the development of your child’s personality. The answer to that terrifies me. Here’s why. When I think of this here’s how my mind works. OK, if 1 B gets my good traits and David bad traits that’s OK. 1 B will get my bad traits and David’s good traits, again OK. 1 B may get lucky and get my good traits and David’s good traits, great. But then that leaves 1 B to have both of our bad traits, yuck. Well, I’m no expert on genetics and I’m sure that, that’s not how it works but you have to admit that’s pretty scary. Which brings me here.
Am I teaching my children to nag, to fuss, get annoyed easily, things that I may tend to do on occasion during a normal day? Or, are they seeing more of the calmer side of me and mimicking that instead? Does it just depend on the child, and how do I teach them to overcome these obstacles when I struggle with them on a daily basis?
All of these questions roll around in my head often. I have no desire to instill these things in my children. I pray for patience myself, I pray for God to help me with all of my bad traits (my sins). But there is another way of looking at this. Is it more important to show them that I struggle with these things, that I like them do these things that are not honoring to God? Is it better for them to see me pray daily for patience instead on trying to put on a facade and act like I never struggle with these things? Should our children see that we have weaknesses and should we as parents show them how to ask God to help us overcome these things? Even as I type this I realize that I should not be consumed with my children reaching some level of good behavior but instead be consumed with teaching them to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that they do make and help them learn to pray for God’s help to overcome things that they struggle with. Bad attitudes, lack of patience, harshness towards one another and so on, after all if they don’t experience these things how can they learn how to overcome them.
So, I’m not sure what the B’s will be like when they grow up. Not doubt they will all have different personalities, that’s a good thing. No doubt they will have different occupations, that’s great. After all I’m not called to be their parents so that I can brain wash them into submission, and attempt to turn them into obedient robots with good behavior. I’m called to be their parents to shepherd their hearts and spirit to help transform them into the person that God has planned for them to be. Sure we’re a model for our children, but at some point I think we have to help them see that we all come short of being what God wants us to, and help lead them to a prayer life where they can ask for His forgiveness and guidance. I read a book last year called Shepherding A Child’s Heart it was a great book that I highly recommend. As a matter of fact I wish I had read it before I had kids and I’m sure I should reread it every time we enter a new phase of parenting.
Now for a light ending to this deep post.