Focus on the Family Broadcast

Developing Your Child’s Unique Personality

Developing Your Child’s Unique Personality

Julie Lyles Carr offers insights on how you can cultivate and encourage the special, distinct qualities of your child's personality in a discussion based on her book, Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique God-Given Temperament
Original Air Date: February 9, 2018


Julie Lyles Carr: I think every child that God brings to this planet is on a mission. And it’s our job as parents to help them understand what that purpose is and to not get in the way (laughs) of it with our own agenda on what we’re trying to fulfill as being parents. It really is about launching people into their purposes. So I often say, God didn’t call us to raise perfect children. He called us to raise purposed children.

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John Fuller: That’s Julie Lyles Carr, and she joins us today on Focus on the Family, with your host Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, you have six children. Um, are they all alike?

John: Of course they are.

Jim: (laughs)

John: No, no, not in the least, and I do not know why that is.

Jim: It’s because we all come into this world with a little bit of a God stamp on us, right?

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: A little bit of a temperament. And, uh, not a, necessarily a temper, but we have, uh, pre-positioned, predestined, uh, I think, personality bents, you know? Extroversion, introversion, night person, morning person. I think these are things that are in our DNA when we get here. Um, I see that in my two boys. Uh, you know, there are such differences there. Study habits are very different (laughs), just the way they relate to people is quite different, and, uh, that’s something that is God-given, I think. I’m amazed at the fact that this is a finite box that we plan. In other words, you can do Myers-Briggs or the DISC test, these personality profile tests, and there’s four, five, maybe seven personality types that we all fit into, to where researchers and scientists now can basically say we’re unique, but we have a bent toward one kind of thing or another. And we’re gonna talk more about that today and how it applies to your original child.

John: And we wanna encourage you, because every child, as you said, Jim, is unique, and, um, our goal is not to force them into a box but to understand, uh, how God created them, and Julie Lyles Carr can help us do that. Uh, she’s a popular speaker and very active in ministry, and she and her husband Michael have eight children, and I’m sure they’re all alike.

Jim: (laughs)

John: Uh, she’s written an excellent book called Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique God-Given Temperament, and, uh, it’s a joy to have her with us today.

Jim: Julie, welcome.

Julie: Thanks for having me.

Jim: On behalf of all moms…

Julie: (laughs)

Jim: With eight kids, are you sane, or what’s happening?

Julie: I guess we’re gonna find out.

Jim: I mean, in terms of your own sanity. It’s great, I love big families.

Julie: Well, we love it. And John, I know you can attest to this. It doesn’t feel like that many people to me-

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: …until I see us in a photograph. And then I think (laughs), “Who was responsible for that decision?” (laughing)

Jim: Your Christmas photo-

Julie: Yeah.

Jim: …which I got a copy of, is so beautiful.

Julie: Thank you.

Jim: It’s so nice.

Julie: It’s a tribe.

Jim: But, but it’s interesting. With eight children, you, you can test your theories here, ’cause you, uh, probably have a couple that are alike, but by and large, they’re all unique, but they have bents. Describe what I talked about in the opening there, that you have that extrovert, that introvert, that people person, the non-people person, the, the dreamer, the, uh, you know, person that’s into the analytics.

Julie: Yes, yes. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: I mean, (laughs) we’ve got all of it, and it never fails to amaze me that these kids that we have raised together in this home, with the conversations-

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: …and the meals and the family traditions, all of that, can have such different ways in which they express their lives, different paths that the Lord leads them on, different interests, and different ways of just how they approach things. I think the thing that still is amazing to me even 10 years later is having had the experience of carrying twins and for them to be so completely different from each other (laughs). Yeah.

Jim: And was that your last pregnancy?

Julie: That was the last one.

Jim: So you had six-

John: Twins-

Jim: …and then you had twins.

Julie: Went for a round seven, got a bonus. Yeah.

Jim: How did that… Uh, uh, when the doctor said, “Listen, Michael and Julie, you’re gonna have twins,” uh, uh, what was your initial reaction? Like, “Wow, that’s great,” or “Oh my goodness, what?”

Julie: I really thought… We were halfway through the pregnancy, and my husband, who has never been able to look at a sonogram with any kind of acuity whatsoever, just like-

Jim: Well, I-

Julie: …”Well, is that a… What’s the…”

Jim: “What’s that problem with that?”

Julie: Right. All the kid-

Jim: I’d be in the same camp (laughs).

Julie: Oh, exactly. And so all the kids were actually in there, all six kids were in there. We were with a, a friend of mine who had a, a sonography studio, and so she had this big screen up on the wall where you can see the baby and, and they put that Doptone on there, and my husband went, “Is that two?”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: And in my head, I thought, “They are so messing with me, right?”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: I would know, this is my how many-th pregnan- If I had twins onboard, I would know. And the kids started screaming and jumping, and finally it dawned on me when my friend the sonographer said, “Let me see if that’s a third.” And that was the moment that I went-

Jim: Oh my goodness.

Julie: …”Oh, I, I guess it would be unprofessional-”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: …”for a medical professional to, like, try to punk you that you were having twins if you weren’t.” (laughing) And we were just sort of in shock. I mean, we were thrilled, but-

Jim: So that’s how it soaked in, in that reality moment.

Julie: Yeah, it was, “Wow, I’m not on a reality show. I’m about to make my own reality show” (laughs). It was kind of a difference there.

John: Hm.

Jim: You know what I love in your book? You talk about never truly being prepared to be a parent. And I love that, because every one of you listening, if you’re a new parent, here is great advice. You’re not gonna do it perfectly. Uh, it doesn’t come with a manual. You can read all the books. Even if you do it well, your, your kids have their own temperament and their own disposition and personality, and the formulas don’t always work. Rarely do they work.

Julie: No. There’s a lot of improvs there (laughs).

Jim: Yeah, there’s a lot of improvs. I love that.

Julie: Lot of improvs. You know, the, the borders of righteousness are firm. We know what those are and what the Lord expects of us in terms of raising our kids, and to be, you know, valuable members of society and to love the Lord and, and to give back and to be contributors. We got that. But there’s so much room in the field of grace for how that expresses itself.

Jim: Hm.

Julie: And so I think sometimes when we all try to come up with the same choreography and we try to implement that on every single kid, we have kids that adopt it well, uh, that just seems to be a good fit for them, and kids that don’t. And not only those that it doesn’t really seem to fit, it can almost make ’em a little resentful, because we’re not seeing them.

Jim: Right.

Julie: We’re seeing first a template or we’re seeing first a system. And I think all of us have a deep desire to know that we have been seen for who we are.

Jim: Boy.

Julie: Not necessarily just the program (laughs).

Jim: That is so well said, and I think you look at teenagers today, they’re yearning for that recognition that, “I’m here. I’m in front of you, Mom, Dad.”

Julie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You know, “Can we, can we communicate?” They don’t always invite you into that conversation like that, but they’re screaming it, aren’t they?

Julie: I think a lot of times for kids who seem to be resistant in those teen years, I think there’s a lot of saying, “If you know who I really am, do you really love me and accept me?”

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: “Or are you only willing to look at me through a filter of your own expectation?”

Jim: Wow.

Julie: And for any of us in any relationship, if we think that people are coming to the table with a filter of expectation, we already feel a hesitancy to really reveal who we are. We have a real ethic in our house that hopefully we’re seeing played out, but it’s keep the conversation going. Whatever I have to do to do my Oscar face, “Oh, really?”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: “Is that how you chose to handle that? Interesting.”

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: “Talk to me about that.” Instead of the internal freak out, (laughs) which may actually be how it feels.

Jim: More good advice, actually.

Julie: You know, but to just have that, “Hey, let’s keep the conversation going,” stay neutral. “Tell me more, talk to me about that. Why was that the decision you made?”

Jim: You mention in the book what the purpose is, uh, and the real mission of parenting. I think you’re touching on it, but if, uh, if we were to just ask that question, why? What is the purpose to parenting? What would you say?

Julie: I just see all over the word of God that when he makes people, he places them, and the book of Acts tells us this, that he places people in specific times and specific epochs and specific places in geography for his purposes. When I look at the different accounts that we have throughout the word of God about people that he announced were on their way (laughs), whoever that was going to be, like a Gideon or a Samson or Jesus himself, he always predicated it with, “This child is going to do this, and this is why I’m bringing this child into the world.”

Jim: There was a mission.

Julie: There was a mission. I think every child that God brings to this planet is on a mission.

Jim: Hm.

Julie: And it’s our job as parents to help them understand what that purpose is and to not get in the way (laughs) of it with our own agenda on what we’re trying to fulfill as being parents. It really is about launching people into their purposes. So I often say God didn’t call us to raise perfect children. He called us to raise purposed children.

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: And the difference between those two words is pretty significant when it comes to the ways in which you approach your parents.

Jim: Uh, let me ask you, uh, you and Michael had your grand plan-

Julie: (laughs)

Jim: …for getting married. You know, so many young couples do. “This is the way it’s gonna be, and, uh, you know, we’re gonna have 3.3 children,” or whatever number (laughs). In your case, eight. And, uh, d- did your plans get disrupted? Uh, did they come true the way you think they should have and would have? Or take us back to the early decade, the first decade of your marriage. What happened?

Julie: We… Oh, our plan was so beautiful.

Jim: I bet it was.

Julie: I mean, Jim and John, we should’ve had the thing laminated. It should’ve been framed. It was just so well laid out and it had all these timelines and-

Jim: Professionally done (laughs).

Julie: Oh, very, very professionally done. Nice borders, it was awesome.

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: And so we had this big grand plan. I was in television and radio, Michael was gonna go to law school and, and get that first, you know, community, citywide, or maybe, you know, statewide, you know, Congressional or political seat of some sort, and, and at the ten-year mark, we would go to, I don’t know, let’s say Europe. And while we were in Europe, possibly in Italy or in Greece, we would conceive our first child. And it was all just very…

Jim: (laughs) That, that is some detail.

Julie: It was so beautifully laid out. Yeah, there was a lot of detail, there were, you know, housing requirements.

John: That’s quite a plan, yeah.

Julie: Yeah, housing requirements that were going to be met, a variety of things. And we had been married about seven months when we learned something that is profound for couples to learn, which is spontaneity can cause people.

Jim: (laughing)

Julie: And, so, we… 15 months into this new marriage with this beautiful 10-year plan, we had our first child, Madison.

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: And Michael in particular… I always loved kids and, and enjoyed being around kids, and Mike, you know, really, uh, kids, hm…

Jim: That came later.

Julie: Yeah, it… Well, we talked him into it, right?

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: Um, but he really was someone who had thought, “I don’t know if I’ll ever had kids.” And I knew this when we married. You know, “I, I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids. If I do, it will be far down the line and maybe one. Maybe two, maybe.” And over time, the Lord really worked on us, because it was one of the question, we’d never bothered to ask God. We had asked him about what jobs to take and-

Jim: Hm.

Julie: …where we were supposed to live and things like that, but we’d never asked, “Oh yeah, and kids and family. Like, got any thoughts?” And, um…

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: And apparently the Lord did.

Jim: Kind of a good question.

Julie: And so we… When we opened up that question, we discovered that God had really softened our hearts for the experience of a bigger family.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family, and our guest today is Julie Lyles Carr, and you can find her book Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique God-Given Temperament, along with other helpful resources, at Let’s go ahead and get back now to the conversation with Julie Lyles Carr.

Jim: Julie, her- here’s the question. Why do we try so hard to be normal, as, uh, opposed to, uh, identifying that originality that God has created? I mean, he’s a creator of life, and he gave us a bouquet, not a single flower. Um, why do we lean toward normal and find comfort in normal rather than, “Let’s raise these kids as originals.” All eight, in your case.

Julie: I think for a lot of us, some of our greatest hopes and fears have to do with our kids. And if we can find something that we think is gonna be guaranteed, then it seems to take some of that fear off, it quells that. I think we all love things that feel like formulas and guarantees and, and certain ways that we think will work, and it’s always fascinating to me when people ask me about the expression of raising our kids. “Well, tell me exactly. Well, give me the list.” And I’m like, “What?”

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Julie: You need to talk about your kids, because what’s worked for some of mine may not work for some of yours. We have a funny story that we tell. One of my children, my second child McKenna, she really likes things to be plotted out well. She likes to know what’s coming up, what she can expect, and she has a real heart to be compliant and to be on track. She really likes knowing what the parameters are.

Jim: Meet the expectations.

Julie: Correct, she really likes that. So when the oldest kids were young, I was looking for efficiency models, and so I had this chart. Well, if you do this, this is the punitive consequence. So if you do that, it’s gonna be this much time out, and if you do this, then it’s gonna be… I’m gonna get to take that stuffed animal, and if you do this… And I laid it all out. McKenna looked at that chart, and you could see her little mind going, “Okay, excellent. Okay.”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: “Never gonna do any of that stuff.”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: Third child, Justice, walked up to the list and went, “Totally worth it. Gonna do all of it.”

Jim: (laughing)

Julie: Like… He was like, “Fantastic. I know what to expect.”

Jim: “These consequences aren’t severe.”

Julie: “It’s not, not a big deal. I’m willing to pay the price.” So I think that some of it is trying to make efficiency models. I think some of it is we want those guarantees. But I tell you the thing that I find over and over. We, to some degree, find a lot of our identity in our parenting.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Julie: And if we have a kid go rogue or we have a kid who does something the way that we didn’t like, or we have a kid… I don’t know, speaking hypothetically for a friend whose child always shows up to Sunday school with two different shoes on and the nastiest shirt you’ve ever seen. That would be one of mine.

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: You know, how are people gonna judge me?

Jim: Right.

Julie: What are they gonna think about me and what does it say about me? So I think some of it is out of a, um, a desire to really do things that are beneficial and good for our kids, but some of it really is to protect ourselves sometimes, because we really don’t want people to judge us.

Jim: But Julie, how do we untangle ourselves from that? First, how do we recognize it? And then B, what, what is the other way? And is that sufficient to ensure that our kids have the best shot at doing well in life? Because I think it’s all kind of wrapped up in their success and how we measure them, by their grades, by, you know, what col- We all talk about what college our kids are going to, don’t we? I mean, that’s usually it, but not all kids are cut out for college.

Julie: Right.

Jim: There’s vocational, uh, uh, pathways, there’s other things that they can do to earn a living. But we do tend to freak out and panic. So speak to that mom specifically, who is in that mold of, you know, “I’m watching all these things.” Uh, how does she relax and where does she find her security and her comfort, even if her kids aren’t doing what she wants them to do?

Julie: One of the questions that I ask myself if I start bumping up against something where I’m like, “Ooh, I don’t know that I want them wearing or doing or saying… Or what did they just post on social media with my last name on it?” (laughs) You know, those kinds of things. I ask myself this question. Who is the “they” I’m worried about? You know, we have this sort of societal, mythological “they,” and that “they” tells us things like, “You can’t wear white pants after Labor Day,” and that “they” has certain expectations about when your Christmas tree can go up and when your Christmas tree can come down. And that “they” actually governs a lot of some of the, you know… (laughs) [inaudible] Different cattle chutes that we try to put our kids in, and we think they’re supposed to work through.

Julie: Sometimes it’s a “they” that is sort of the “they,” the Church, broadly. “Well, what will the Church think? And if I’m trying to raise godly kids, what will they say if they see this? And does that match their definition-”

Jim: Hm.

Julie: …”of godly kids?” And sometimes it’s the “they” that’s within just our own extended family and community. “Oh my goodness, if my mother realizes that I’ve let them do blah, blah, blah, or if they get wind that so-and-so’s gonna go to community college first,” you know.

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: “What, what is my father-in-law going to say?” We’ve got this “they” that we worry about. When I identify that “they,” it helps me identify, “Well, is that God’s guidance and voice or is that me seeking approval or trying to buffer against some kind of judgment?” So I think when mom hits that place that she’s freaking out a little bit, who is the “they”?

Jim: Identify that.

Julie: Who’s… Who… Uh, identify it? And if it’s really someone that is important and is a mentor, is someone who disciples you, okay, that’s an important “they” to listen to. But if it’s a “they” who’s always critical or it’s an extended family member who always has an opinion that’s different than what God is guiding you to do for your child, that “they” just has to get quiet, and you need to not allow your emotion to spool when that “they”-

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: …can be shouting very loudly. I think it’s really important for all of us to take a strong look at how God is asking us to raise each individual kid, and I don’t think we often stop to ask that.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true. Uh, wh- Let me ask you this. When God sees us, you know, mom and dad and the kids, in your case, the eight kids that he’s given you, what is he looking for?

Julie: I think he’s looking for a celebration of what he’s created. I, you know… Genesis tells us that God creates and he stands back and he, and he says, “This is good stuff. (laughs) This is great.”

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: And so I think he’s looking for people to partner with him in parenting, who equip themselves to celebrate his good purpose and what he has designed. You know, I’ve got kids that are quirky, I’ve got kids who behave in funny ways. I’ve got kids who… You know, my 16-year-old who goes to the grocery store without shoes. I know, I know. But I celebrate that now in a way that was hard for me to celebrate initially when I thought there should’ve been, you know, stronger rules, or “What are people gonna think?”

Jim: How did you get there, though? I gotta ask you, because, I mean, has he ever looked at the bottom of his feet when he got home? (laughs)

Julie: You guys… It’s, it’s what you pay attention to, right? (laughs)

Jim: But, but, but, I mean, it’s true, though. What… Uh, and I’m just thinking of, particularly, again, moms, but dads too, that are so wrapped up in, “How could you ever do that?” I have used those words.

Julie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Unfortunately. And I would love to be more celebratory (laughs)-

Julie: (laughs)

Jim: …with the boys and their uniquenesses, but ho- how do you move from point A to point B, uh, to where you can relax, and you’re prioritizing, uh, appropriately and concentrating on the right thing so you’re not really doing damage?

Julie: You know, I think for me, part of it… And, and when people ask about the size of our family in terms of, “Well, what’s the testimony on that?” You know, “That, that means God thinks you’re amazing parents.” I’m like, “Maybe it just took…”

Jim: How many did you adopt? (laughs)

Julie: (laughs) Yeah, uh, they always get asked that too. Um, but you know, I think part of it may just be that God’s like, “I finally got through to her after eight.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: Like, “She finally figured it out.” I think part of it organically came about for me, because honestly, when you’re raising this number of kids, there are certain things you just learn organically are not that important. Okay, so a kid went to the ballet, and he was wearing nasty sneakers. Nobody died, it’s okay.

Jim: Yeah.

Julie: And so, I think some of those things, just… And basic survival of, “Do we have everybody in the car and is everybody at least somewhat covered?”

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: “Fine. We’re good. It’s a victory.” I think that really resetting what my expectations were for what children can do, who they can be, and then just through the process of seeing… When you celebrate someone and you honor them, compliance and those times that you need to say, “Hey, I’m just asking, just for this family wedding, would you please take the blue out of your hair?” You know, it…

Jim: (laughs)

Julie: When you, when you really reduce down, where it’s not every day you’re hammering them about something else that doesn’t meet your preference. I mean, here’s the reality. I decorate my home based on a preference I have. How would I feel if I had somebody coming into my world and saying, “You must decorate in this certain way,” when really, at the end of the day, it’s a non-sequitur. That’s become one of the questions I’ve tried to focus on as well, is, “What is a non-sequitur? What really, in the grand scope of things, does not matter?”

Jim: Hm.

Julie: In comparison to the health and the joy of this kid’s soul. If that kid wants to wear weird nail polish or wants to wear a ripped whatever, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, because they’re a great, grand person with compassion. Let’s just celebrate that.

Jim: And I love that. And let’s get into that personality type, which is what your book is based on, kind of the DISC test of old.

Julie: Right.

Jim: But you’ve applied it in a different way and given the DISC acronym different names. But I love it, it’s a way for us to understand God’s hand in our development and how we think. And again, these are broad concepts. Uh, you’re probably a mix of all of ’em, or three of them or whatever the, the way that you see yourself. But let’s go through the DISC acronym and describe it for us. The D of DISC, what does that represent?

Julie: I changed the word just a little bit, because I felt that some of the, uh, technical terms that are used in the traditional DISC, and there are, uh, actually even some that preceded that that were, uh, even a little more strong, uh, I wanted these terms to feel victorious and like a win. I, I didn’t want it to be like, “Oh, that’s the bossy one,” or, you know-

Jim: Yeah (laughs).

Julie: …”Oh, that’s the shy one.” You know, I wanted it to feel like-

Jim: Right.

Julie: …from a place of empowerment.

Jim: All positive.

Julie: Very much so. So with the D, I’ve, I’ve called that the director. And, and this is the kid-

Jim: (laughs) I like that.

Julie: …you know that you just see on the playground who just seems to organically be able to get everybody in line, and “We’re gonna do a play here on the playground. And I’m gonna do this, and you’re gonna do this, this, and this.” And people go, “Oh, okay.”

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, right.

Julie: (laughs) Like, they’re just like, “It’s just that vibe. Yeah.”

Jim: Fall in line.

Julie: Yeah, just that vibe.

Jim: Right, they’re leaders.

Julie: They’re leaders, they are leaders. Now, I, I believe everybody is a leader.

Jim: Right.

Julie: Everybody’s leading somebody, but these are the ones who tend to lead the biggest groups in an organized way and in a way that is very, very task specific. That’s a really important designation between the next one I’m gonna talk about, which is the I, and I call that one the inspirer. Now, the inspirer can get everybody, uh, together on the playground, but it’s for audience, ’cause they’re gonna do a comedy bit (laughs).

Jim: (laughs) Right, okay.

Julie: So it’s a little bit different. And theirs is much more about those relationships, and having fun, and being spontaneous, and engaging everybody in that sense of fun. And so that’s the difference between those two styles of leadership, if you will. They’re both very attractional, people tend to flock around, but for the director, its task, and for the inspirer, it’s more people, relational.

Jim: Relationship, yep.

Julie: Correct. And then I have what I call the S, the steadfast. And this is the person who also is very relational, like the influencer, but the steadfast doesn’t need 274 friends at a sitting. They’re great with just a smaller group that they really invest in. What’s also interesting with the steadfast is as much as the inspirer doesn’t really care if things are different and new and there’s no routine, the steadfast really likes for things to be fairly plotted out. They like to know what’s coming, they are an amazing person to come alongside, a great second, if you will. I kind of don’t like that term, it’s a little weighted, but-

Jim: But a wonderful friend, a good-

Julie: Wonderful friend. They’re the one-

Jim: …helpmate.

Julie: Yes.

Jim: All that.

Julie: All of that. So I love the steadfasts in my life, because I just think they help make the world go round. And then we have what I call the curator. And the curator, that’s the person who labels their label maker. Like, they really love spreadsheets, they really love knowing the data, and they don’t really need people in general. They’re something of a lone wolf, like, “You know what? I got this. You guys are great, let me go do my thing.” We need curators in the world, they’re really important to have. And I think that they lead in a way that is sort of different, obviously, than a D or an I or an S, but they lead in a way by saying, “Let’s set a standard.” And when you’re someone who sets a standard, you are leading. And so I also find that the curators in my world are more task oriented. So we’ve got the director and curator, who are more task oriented. The director wants people to organize (laughs), the curator wants stuff to organize. The I, the influencer, and the S, the steadfast, are more relational. The influencer likes and… Or inspirer is another way of saying it, also really likes to have lots of people around, the steadfast really doesn’t need as many but also likes that relational aspect.

Jim: And goes deep. Those are great generalities to understand the bent of your child and then help parent in that direction, right?

John: Hm.

Julie: Hm.

Jim: So you don’t try to take a director and make them into, you know, an influencer or something like that. Know their bent and then help them in that way. Is that fair?

Julie: I think that’s very fair. Now, the other corollary is neither do you want to take a snapshot of a child at a certain stage of development and say, “You’re a director. Director, director, director.” When ultimately, that child may say, “You know, actually I feel like I’m a bit more of an inspirer.”

Jim: Right.

Julie: “I kind of like more of that influential role in a positive and comedic way.” So to make sure that we leave enough room, this is not something we’re stamping on them. It’s a way of understanding who they are in this season. We do have bents that come very naturally, but we see some things rise and crest and then maybe dip a bit, depending on what season of life we’re in, what kind of experiences we’re having, and the various roles that God can call us into in certain seasons.

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I appreciate that, because I think a lot of us, especially when the kids are younger, we want to know, “Who is this child going to be when they grow up?”

Jim: (laughs)

John: And we miss the opportunity of, “Who are they right now?”

Jim: Right.

John: And, and there is a transition that happens for a lot of kids. They move from one kind of style to another, or you didn’t see the style and it finally shows up when they’re a young adult, and it’s glorious to find out, “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Julie: Right. I think it still is being in that place of wanting to continue discovery.

John: Yeah.

Julie: That we don’t have a… We don’t ever have it all figured out. But that’s the glory of it (laughs).

Jim: And I love that, I love that attitude of a parent, to be in that direction, to get to know your child and to find out their likes and dislikes, really, uh, know them well, know their hearts. Julie, this has been so much fun. We’re gonna have to have you back.

Julie: Well, thank you.

Jim: And talk more about this. Um, in the book Raising an Original, you do have the, the, the assessment-

Julie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …uh, for the child, and so, when you pick up the book, you can, uh, use that with your own kids to kind of identify where they’re at, I think that’s terrific.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And this is one of those resources that will help you in your parenting. I so appreciate your attitude, having eight children, just that ability to know what are the important things and what are the unimportant things, right?

Julie: Yes, gotta have it. Gotta have it.

Jim: It, it… You gotta have it.

Julie: (laughs)

Jim: Well, one of the things, uh, with eight children, you’re forced to efficiency. You can’t really worry about the things that aren’t important.

Julie: Right, right. Absolutely.

Jim: You gotta move on.

Julie: We do.

Jim: And I… That has come through loud and clear, and even for the mom that has one child, and the mom and dad, uh, you know, uh, for both of you, if you’re in that spot where you’re panicking a bit, this is an excellent resource for you. And, uh, one of the things that we have as well is the Seven Traits of Effective Parenting assessment that’s on the Focus website, uh, to help you identify your strengths and your weaknesses when it comes to the parenting side of this. So I’d encourage you to take that, um, it’s free, and, uh, there’s also resources there that will augment, uh, those, um, maybe not as strong areas, right, John?

John: Yeah, Jim. That’s absolutely right. Uh, I’ve taken the assessment. It does shine a light on your strengths, and, uh, it does give you some ideas on how to grow as well, and I hope you’re inspired to do that. Uh, take the assessment when you’re at And by the way, uh, as you can, please donate to the ministry of Focus on the Family and request a copy of Julie’s book Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique God-Given Temperament. And once again, our phone number, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Uh, in fact, John, uh, we believe in this content, Julie, to the point where if, uh, the listener, you wanna get a copy, just make a donation of any amount. If you can’t afford it, get a hold of us, we’ll get it into your hands, and I’m sure others will help us cover the cost of that, but we believe in it. Julie, you have really done a great job putting this, uh, together and helping us think differently about how to parent with the grace of God, the love of God, and the discernment of God, so it is a great resource. Thanks for being with us.

Julie: Thank you so much for having me.

John: Hm. And do plan now to join us next time, as we hear from John Burke. He’ll explain why it’s important to stay connected to God.


John Burke: A branch doesn’t have to work hard to produce fruit. All it has to do is stay connected to the trunk, the vine, and fruit happens naturally. I’m the vine, you’re the branches. Stay connected to me and you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.

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Raising an Original

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