I just want to say a few words about character.
Before and beyond whatever my wife and I did to our two kids, they came into this world different. At bottom, my son is a buddha boy. He has a profound calm wisdom at the core of his being. I remember holding him in my arms and gently rocking him when he was an infant. I was thinking that I would rock him until he was asleep and then gently lay him in the bassinet. Well before sleep, and before I thought he was ready, he began arching his back and reaching towards the bassinet, basically telling, me, “please put me down, I’m ready to chill in my little bed.” So, I laid him down, and, happy as a pig in poo, he quietly drifted off to sleep. This is Zeb!
My daughter has always been a fiery spirit a dragon spirit with her own tempestuous and powerful wisdom. She and the goddess of sleep were at war from day one. Because she never seemed ready to be put down, we tried letting her cry it out until sleep came. IT NEVER DID. I’m sure we did not do the right thing. But nothing seemed to work. Eventually, and with our clumsy support, she found her way, for some years at least, to being able to sleep peacefully.
The point is, from the git go, May was totally and wonderfully different than Zeb.
Though I am not an expert with the enneagram, it does teach us a great deal about the nature of character. It provides a lexicon of nine different character types. To my mind, this system describes a limited variety of ways that we dance towards and away from union. Each of these styles has weaknesses and strengths and the enneagram provides a map to help us recognize and navigate the character that flavors our being in the world. (provide link to andrew hahn and other enneagram resources)
Our job as parents, teachers, and healers, is to get to know the flavor and style of being of our various charges and help them to lovingly and skillfully ride the horse they have been given to ride. We are not here to fix or cure or overcome these styles of being. There is nothing wrong with any of these. Each arises from and is an expression of the primordial wisdom with which all of life is imbued. We are here to discover and celebrate and help them discover and celebrate the gifts and work creatively and compassionately with the challenges associated with that particular style of being human.