Teachable Moments

Extroverted Parents

It may be assumed that an Extroverted Parent has it easier than an Introverted Parent.  After all, don’t extroverts enjoy having people around all the time, have more energy and emotional capacity that would help them manage a child’s boundless exuberance and are able to navigate more swiftly the ever changing schedules of daily childhood schedules? Let’s see what research has to say.

Professor Susan Whitbourne at the University of Massachusetts along with author, Sophia Dembling, propose a variety of pros and cons for the Extroverted Parents.  Along with other research insights, the following characteristics help us better understand the joys and challenges of Extroverted Parenting.

  1.  They don’t overthink.  Extroverts tend to handle conflicts or issues head on, not allowing anger to build up or dwell on things too long.  This is one of the “pros” as being able to go with the flow and not being too worked up over life’s challenges decreases the anxiety of parenting.  They don’t overthink issues, but tend to solve and resolve things fairly quickly and then move on with little stress.
  2. They’re ready to go.  Boundless energy and people engagement tends to make extroverted parents up for anything.  Want to go play ball?  Yes!  Want to watch a movie?  Yes.  Want to work on the local PTA?  Yes!  These are the Tiggers of the world who bounce around, going to all sorts of places and engaging in all sorts of activities.  They tend to play with their children rather than apart from them.  They value connection with others as they highly value relationships.
  3. Children’s emotions can get in the way.  Extroverted parents may have a hard time seeing life from a child’s point of view.  They don’t always want to slow down to hear what is going on behind the scenes for the child.  This can make them insensitive. Getting things done can be more important than how they get things done or why they get things done.
  4. Humor shouldn’t be the highest value.  Most Extroverts can appreciate a good joke. Humor is often an appropriate distraction or can create a happy moment within the family.  But, humor has a dark side and if not careful, humor and sarcasm can take the place of insight and sincerity.
  5. They’re loud.  Most Extroverted Parents make a bit of noise and aren’t embarrassed for it.  They love cheering on their kids and can handle noise with a “kids will be kids” attitude.  This makes the uproar of children and their friends a welcome environment for Extroverts and hospitality in childhood one of their strengths.
  6. Extroverts love being Extroverts.  While Introverts are known to apologize for their personality, Extroverts tend to embrace their personality and praise themselves for it.  While they didn’t do anything to get this type of personality, they need to remember with humility that God has made all people valuable, not just them.  They need to especially remember this if God has given them an Introverted child!

BEWARE: beware the pressure that we can inadvertently put on our Extrovert Parents.

Extroverted parents can feel a lot of pressure to be the “fun” parent and to make sure everyone is always having a good time.  Extroverts can be misunderstood as some will expect them to be ready to go and ready to volunteer all the time. It is easy to pigeon-hole them and see them as one-dimensional and think because of their energy and activity level they are intellectually shallow.  None of this is fair and we need to extend opportunities for our Extroverted Parents to express deep thoughts, connect emotionally at a slower pace and to say “no” when their schedules get too full.   

Dear Reader, may we take the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 seriously when it says, Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  Appreciating the energy, vibrancy, and positivity of Extroverts means letting them know we are grateful for all they bring to a community while also allowing them to express their more vulnerable emotions and profound thoughts.  Extroverts can be natural givers, but they also need opportunities to receive. May we not grow weary in building up our Extroverted Parents!

Blessings to you whether Extrovert or Introvert!  

Your Extroverted Friend, Elizabeth

Teachable Moments

What Puts The GRAND In Grandparenting?

“If I knew Grandparenting was so great, I would have been a grandparent FIRST!”  My Mom told me this after she had spent a delightful day playing at the park, having a picnic, and reading books with my preschool children and when they needed reigning in, she brought them to me; she had the fun, and I got to parent.  Grandparents often get the joys of being with the kiddos without all the hassle and worry. This doesn’t mean Grandparents don’t work when they are on child-duty, but it does mean that they don’t have ultimate responsibility.

Grandparents are in a unique role as there are benefits to their stage of life that they didn’t have when they were younger.  Now, of course this doesn’t apply to every Grandparent, but for many gone are the days of early alarm clocks, a 5-day work week, and evenings filled with soccer practices, piano lessons, and play dates.  Time can be considered more at the discretion of the Grandparent with a freedom of choice they haven’t previously enjoyed. Finances don’t have to be designated for orthodontic braces, prom dresses, college fees, or wedding receptions.  With these responsibilities behind them, Grandparents have a choice they can spend on their adult children and their growing families.

How best can Grandparents make the most of these precious years with their grandchildren?  How can the former generation influence the future generation?  It’s not a matter of making a “to do” list, but rather a “to be” list.  

  1. G – Get your wisdom from God.   Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)  God has gotten you this far, He can be there to help give you the strength and wisdom you’ll need to influence the next generation.  Ask God to give you the opportunities you need to have those teachable moments with your Grandchildren that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
  2. R – Remember those funny, fun and frantic life stories.  A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. (Proverbs 17:22, MSG) My Grandmother told me stories of having a goat-cart to get around town, putting rouge on her knees when she went out dancing the Charleston in the 1920s, listening around the radio to “The Shadow” in the 1930s, and remembering the first movie she ever saw (1915, “The Champion” with Charlie Chaplin).  What fun it was to hear about “ the good ole’ days” and how encouraging to know that the God that sustained my Grandparents would also see me through.
  3. A – Answer questions and Ask just as many.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4, NIV) Take the time to engage in conversation.  Don’t let those teachable moments slide by!  Also, if you have a Grandchild who tends not to initiate conversation, take the time to seek them out and ask about their lives – what they are experiencing, what they think and what decisions they are  making.
  4. N – Never miss a moment to be an “encourager”. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV) Parents and children face many challenges on a day-to-day basis.  As a grandparent, look for the silver lining and the positive. You never know how your words of encouragement can build up relationships, help navigate conflict and encourage perseverance through tough times.
  5. D – Disciple the next generation.  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35, NIV) Your best gift to your grandchildren is loving them well.  Never miss out on giving a hug, speaking about your devotion to Jesus and showing appreciation for what makes them special.  Loving family relationships built on Christ is a strong witness to the world and a blessing that your Grandchildren will carry with them the rest of their lives.

Dear Reader, what a privilege it is to be a Grandparent.  Your relationship is a powerful opportunity to influence the next generation in significant ways. You’ve lived a lifetime – it’s now time to pass on all you’ve learned and invest in these young lives.  Look and cultivate all the Teachable Moments you can find – you’ll be glad you did and so will your grandchildren.

Fond blessings to you!  As always, Elizabeth

PS – do you know a Grandparent who may find this article helpful? Could you kindly consider passing this blog post on to them?  I’d appreciate it and I bet they would too. Let’s make every Teachable Moment count!