Anyone who knows our girls knows they are two completely different humans. Their personalities, senses of humor, curiosity, and social skills aren’t exactly opposite, but they certainly are unique. Anyone who has interacted with children knows that they are each their own person. The other day, I was chatting with a dad about nature vs. nurture. Yes, we try to nurture our kids well, but a lot of my parenting is adjusted to their specific natures.
Julie Lyles Carr certainly has first-hand experience seeing the individual natures of kids. She and her husband have eight of their own and her book, Raising an Original is filled with anecdotes and advice about listening to the unique spirit of each child and parenting accordingly.
The strengths of Raising an Original come from Carr’s stories. She writes in an inviting and engaging way, affirming my own questions and struggles as a mom. Her encouraging words and big-picture reminders are what moms of any stage need.
Where the book lost some of its power for me was in the middle. Carr includes an “assessment” to help categorize children. She breaks each personality into four types: The Director, The Inspirer, The Steadfast, and The Curator. I thought the book would build off of this assessment, but it doesn’t. It feels like it is just put in the middle without much reference leading up or following. Carr also uses a lot of caveats when describing each type, reminding the reader again and again that we all have parts of each. It seemed to weaken the typing.
Carr also paraphrases the Bible a bit too loosely for my taste. She often refers to ancient characters in modern references – calling systemic injustices “extramarital affairs” and “professions.” It felt like she was watering down stories to fit into her own mixed-metaphor telling.
Overall, I think I would have liked this book a lot more if Carr had stuck with her strength: Encouraging moms along their journey. As it was, this book felt a bit muddled.
How do you feel about personality tests for kids? What are your best resources for recognizing the individuality of kids?
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Raising an Original. Leave a comment about raising your own original and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, December 16, 2016. (United States addresses only.)