So I was reading all the comments on my post from yesterday about the right way to parent, and it made me wonder about something that I actually think about often as I write posts for Ask Moxie:
Why are some of us able to toss off rules and expectations more easily than others are, and make up our own set of expectations for ourselves? Why do some of us respond more intensely to external criticism?
I've been trying to figure it out for years now (since I've been writing Ask Moxie), because I feel like knowing why something's making you feel bad is the first step to not having it make you feel bad anymore.
I love learning more things about myself, and part of that is that I really enjoy personality indicators. My dad gave me the Myers-Briggs indicator way back when I was in high school, and that was the beginning of a long quest to know more about myself as compared to other "types." (I'm an ENFP, in case anyone's wondering, but I'm not as strongly E as I was back in high school.) Taking the Birkman was a real revelation, as it showed me why my feelings got hurt when I didn't expect them to (green style but blue needs, in case anyone's familiar with the Birkman).
Recently I came across the KAI indicator, a measure of the way in which people are creative. The assumption of the indicator is that everyone is creative in some way, and the indicator doesn't measure the degree of creativity of a person at all. Instead, it places them on a spectrum of being an adaptor or an innovator. Adaptors are creative within a set of rules and boundaries, while innovators actively resist rules. Innovators are the people who not only "think outside the box," but resent the existence of the box to begin with. Adaptors are the people who not only accept the box, but get super-fast and super-fluent in getting things done the most efficient and clean way possible within the box.
I haven't figured out yet if there's a way for individuals to take the KAI to see where they lie (it looks like they've got practitioners who work with companies to help workers get along better), but just looking at some of the breakdowns gave me some lightbulb moments about myself.
And then reading the whole exchange in the comments between Maureen, who was having problems with the bedtime routine, and hedra and others who were giving concrete suggestions, made me think that this innovator/adaptor thing might be key to helping us understand how we interact and experience the "rules" of parenting.
If you're more toward the adaptor side, then you're going to accept and embrace the rules. Then, if they don't work for you, you'll feel like it's your flawed execution of the rules that's the problem. If you lean toward the innovator side, you're going to use the rules as cultural artifact, if at all, so everything will something you figure out on your own. If you're closer to the midline, you'll be able to start with the rules but then break free as needed. Obviously there's no better way to be, but understanding how you are can help give you a reality check about how you're experiencing a given situation.
So. Thinking in terms of the adaptor/innovator paradigm, Maureen sounds more adaptor-y, but once she was given concrete new guidelines she was freed to implement them with creativity.
Does that make any sense? Any comments? Anything this is triggering? Think I'm barking up the wrong tree?