Our youngest grandson has recently begun walking. It would have come as a surprise (he is just 10 months old) except for the fact that he has done everything sooner than his three older brothers. I’m sure that watching them has had an impact on his development. But I , Nana, have another theory that is based on personal observation – NOT scientific research. He is a born leader.
I want to postulate that the rate at which a child begins certain developmental tasks is not based on birth order as much as personality. A first-born child that is a natural leader will tend to do things like walk, talk, and feed themselves at an earlier age. These children know what they want and they want to get moving! They want to feed themselves and are often heard saying – “I can do it!” ( or “me do it!”) Yet, this child may be the middle child or even the youngest born. Their outgoing personality may result in them telling the older siblings what to do – and surprisingly – those older siblings do it! These assertive children may fall a lot, or make big messes eating – but they will get it done – by themselves.
The quiet, less outgoing child, whatever the birth order, will wait to try new skills until they are sure they can do it. They will walk later – but rarely fall. These children will let the parent feed them and only start doing it themselves when they are sure they won’t spill. They are careful learning new tasks and want help along the way. Once they master something, they do it well by themselves.
The insecure, tentative child is the one who needs consistent help and assurance that they can master a new skill. Even when they can walk – they want to be carried. They are able to feed themselves, but they want to be fed. They seem to require constant attention to insure that they are able to do things.
As parents it is important to recognize the personality of our child and encourage them to grow and develop in positive ways. Each of these personality types have positive and negative qualities. As parents we can help our children develop the positive aspects and minimize the negative ones.
I am studying Scriptures on following Jesus. I believe that as God’s children we have various spiritual personalities just like our natural ones. God has created us this way. As we make the decision to follow Jesus, each of us follows Him using our individual personality.
This can be positive and negative. For example:
- An outgoing, leader type personality may start to follow with sincere enthusiasm. They actively follow for a time and then run ahead – thinking they don’t have to wait – they know the path to follow.
- The quieter, more careful personality might wait and study for a long time, not wanting to miss the path. That time spent studying is good. But while waiting, they lose sight of Jesus as He moves ahead.
- The insecure personality wants to follow, but isn’t sure and second guesses themselves about when to move. Do they have all they need to follow? They want to follow but they aren’t sure how, they want someone to carry them.
This is why we must die to self to learn to walk with Jesus. God has created us with various personalities. He has a purpose for each of these qualities in our lives. Yet if our personalities prevent us from following Jesus, we must put those traits to death.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
The only way we can learn to walk like Jesus is to follow Him.