A few years ago I was struggling with a less than fulfilling relationship with God that seemed dry and distant. As a Choleric I can work really hard for God but miss the personal connection. One day as I was answering a question in my Bible study homework, I had an epiphany. David Rock in Your Brain at Work, would call this an insight. “The insight experience is characterized by a lack of logical progression to the solution, but instead a sudden “knowing” regarding the answer.” Insights only happen when you can turn off the prefrontal cortex of your brain, the part of my brain that I, and most Cholerics, live in most of the time.
Anyhoo, I realized that when I prayed, most of my words to God were requests for action. “Help me love that unlovable person because she is really driving me crazy. Give me patience with my daughter so I won’t say or do things I will probably regret. Provide for our family so our kiddos can go to college. Yada Yada Yada.” This focus on action can keep us Cholerics from experiencing deeper connection with God since we never stop to ask God what He wants to say to us. Why talk when you can act? Right? Except that action without communication is lonely and we can buy into the lie that God judges us on our performance just as we can judge others by what they do rather than who they are. If you are a Choleric, start asking God what He wants to say to you, instead of do for you and start noticing people for who they are rather than what they do. It will revolutionize your Christian life.
Cholerics tend to be unemotional and harsh around others. I just received some feedback on my personality that used the word strident. Ouch! And even though we may not show it and hate to admit it, Cholerics still have needs. The emotional needs of a Choleric are appreciation and achievement, so recognize the achievements of a Choleric and thank them for it. If you are Choleric celebrate your accomplishments before moving on to your next action item. Make sure that you have reasonable goals and are working toward them because incomplete projects and piles of unfinished business will drain your energy quickly. God created you with a drive and the energy to get things done. It’s one of the blessings that you can offer your employer, your family, your committee, or your kiddos.
Speaking of kiddos, Cholerics make great moms due to their optimistic leadership and confident authority. They never have to take a class in organization because that talent just comes naturally. On the downside Choleric moms can have high expectations for their children and focus too much on work. My kiddos have so many chores that they feel like farm people so I have to watch my tendency to keep them busy checking things off the to-do list. I also have to slow myself down to allow them to learn how to do things on their own. When Casey learned how to sort the laundry into darks, whites and pinks (that may just be us) she wasn’t too good at it. One day I found a bunch of dark tights in the white pile and pink undies in the darks. Yikes! The Choleric in me wanted to go fix it immediately because we thrive on righting wrongs but a still small voice whispered “Don’t crush her spirit” and so, in a particularly good moment, I let it go and Casey ran out to play. Choleric tip: I did sneak back into the laundry room later when no one was looking and fixed it. Laundry disaster averted and many years later Casey is still a competent and confident laundry sorter.
One of our biggest weaknesses as Choleric moms is our temper. We can get really angry with the fruit of our womb. A couple things are helpful here:
1. See your anger as an indicator that you need to set a limit. Most of the times we get angry with the children, it is because we have let things go too far. In a time of non-conflict sit down and think about a boundary that you can set in advance that will keep you from escalating. A great resource is Boundaries with Kids by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.
2. Anger is a secondary emotion covering another emotion, usually one much more vulnerable like hurt or loneliness or helplessness. That is actually the tender place that you need to explore, confess, and heal to avoid future outbursts.
If you are raising a Choleric child, God bless you. In addition to their extroverted, high achieving, bright and energetic spirit, they are wonderfully demanding, bossy, strong-willed, disrespectful and refuse to admit when they are wrong. My oldest daughter is a Choleric and once when she disobeyed me, instead of confessing her sin, she cleaned the whole kitchen to even the score. I was thrilled about the kitchen, but all I wanted for her and me was an apology.
Choleric kiddos will drag you into power struggles on a daily basis. My wusband used to watch my Choleric daughter and I go at it and call it “Dale vs. Dale.” Although they will try to steal your authority, deep down they don’t want to be in charge at home. Your Choleric child needs to know that they are not the strongest one in the house. They will constantly test your authority so they can feel safe and sound in your care. It does help if you can find appropriate ways for your Choleric child to be in charge. Let them organize the crayons, set the table, or feed the dog. They thrive on responsibility. If you put them in charge of younger siblings, watch them because they can become tyrants. Just as “a prophet is honored everywhere except his hometown” (Matthew 13:57) so to a Choleric is rarely honored in his own home, maybe for good reason.
The Choleric child’s motto is MY WAY and they will constantly seek to get their way. From Personality Plus for Parents by Florence Littauer
“A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Choleric Kevin and Phlegmatic Phil. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake, so their mother decided to teach them a moral lesson. “If Jesus was sitting here, he’d say ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.’”
Choleric Kevin turned to his brother and quickly directed, “Phil, you be Jesus.”
Your Choleric child will probably not be very popular because of their desire to be in charge of their friends. And while Cholerics can struggle in elementary and especially middle school, if you help them soften their weaknesses, they make great adults. Cholerics have the courage and the drive to change our world if we don’t shame them for their qualities as children. Let them know that they are popular with you.
Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you would like help with your Choleric weaknesses or parenting a Choleric child, contact me at real.life.coaching (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free 30 minute inquiry call.