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Birth Order

One of our children posted a picture on Facebook recently that got me thinking about the subject of today's blog post. Here's the picture:

Birth Order

Which of our children posted that picture? No fair telling if you saw it on Facebook!

When we were a young couple we read a lot of books about marriage and parenting. Neither of us grew up in the kind of home that we wanted our children to experience, so we did a lot of "borrowing brains" from people who enjoyed the kind of home we wanted to have. One of our favorite books about child rearing is called Know Your Child, by Joe Temple. We had always heard that you should try to treat all your children the same. In his book, Joe Temple maintains that parents cannot and should not deal with all their children in exactly the same way. Each child is unique, and what works with one child will often have the opposite effect with another child in the same family.

We began to see the wisdom in what he was saying when our second child Nora came along. It took no time at all for us to learn that she was very different in tastes and temperament from her older sister Megan. What had soothed Megan as a newborn noticeably irritated Nora. And the differences continued to manifest themselves as Nora grew. So when Mark came along, we weren't at all surprised that he was different from his sisters in his tastes and preferences.

Joe Temple's premise is that it is the parents' responsibility to get to know each of their children well so that they can guide each child's development. In encouraging children's good behavior and in correcting children's misbehavior it's vital to know what will be the most attention grabbing for that child so that the reward or discipline will have its greatest impact. What would have been torture to one of our children would have been almost a reward to one of the others, and vice versa — not at all what you want the child to experience. Another area is when to allow children certain freedoms. Some are ready at a younger age than siblings might be. We highly recommend this book to young parents.

Another book we read concerning differences in children was The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, by Dr. Kevin Leman. While we could see the veracity of some tendencies in ourselves and our children, we weren't sure that it was entirely accurate in its portrayal of firstborns, middle children, last borns, and only children. Many factors in a child's life come into play in addition to and besides their place in birth order — individual temperaments, family size, genders of the children, family make up (blended, adoption/s, etc.), physicality (body size, health, etc.), giftedness or special needs, age gaps between children, and undoubtedly many more. Any of those factors could render inaccurate some or all generalities made about birth order.

In preparation for this post I read quite a few sites related to birth order, some of which totally rejected the whole notion of generalities. I thought it would be fun to post my findings from these sites (many of which are corroborated in Dr. Leman's book) and to see what my readers have to say about all this as they look at themselves and their siblings, and at their children and grandchildren.

Here's a compilation of what I found about the characteristics of children, according to their birth order.
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A malaprop could be described as saying the wrong thing at just the right time. Malapropism is the act of using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation. The word malaprop (or malapropism) comes via Mrs. Malaprop, a character in the Richard Brinsley Sheridan comedy "The Rivals" (1775). Mrs. Malaprop habitually misused words. Ultimately the word came from the French mal à propos, meaning "inappropriate." Malapropism is also referred to as Dogberryism, named after Officer Dogberry in Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing" (1599). Mrs. Malaprop and Officer Dogberry made the same kind of speech error. Here's an example from each character.

Mrs. Malaprop said, "Illiterate him quite from your memory." (obliterate)

Officer Dogberry said, "Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons" (apprehended)

Children very often make this kind of error because of their limited frame of reference. Children have been overheard talking about songs they sang at "vocation Bible school" (vacation), songs such as "Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear" (cross I'll bear) and "Lead on, O Kinky Turtle." (O King Eternal)

Here are some malaprops, along with the appropriate word/s.

He's a wolf in cheap clothing. (sheep's)

It was a case of love at Versailles. (first sight)

He's got one of those sight-seeing dogs. (seeing-eye)

In Algiers, they spend most of their time at the cash bar. (casbah)

A fool and his money are some party. (soon parted) As you will see in the comments to this post, I accidentally did my own malaprop by originally saying that the correct wording was "soon partying." :-)

For all intensive purposes he skipped the meeting. (for all intents and purposes)

All's fear in love and war. (fair)

To each his zone. (own)

Agreed, no more negotiating — it's a dumb deal. (done)

It's a long road to hold. (row to hoe)
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The Good Old Days of Yesteryear

A week ago a long-time reader and friend sent me an e-mail that had some great pictures I knew I would want to share with you. We talk about "the good old days" with great fondness, and yet as good as some of those old days were, it's nice to have them in the past. Today's post will elicit some smiles, groans, and surprise as you see how things were in "the good old days." I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of what I'm posting. It's all based on that e-mail I received.

I'm not a fan of some of men's hairstyles today — super short on the sides and back and super long on top. Why can't guys today have great haircuts as they did in my childhood in the 1950's?!

Popular Haircuts 1950s

In the early 1960's Jackie Kennedy was someone many women wanted to emulate. Here are some women with the "Jackie look" in 1961.
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Recently our daughter Nora posted a picture on Facebook of something that Della had done with her toys.

Della Organizes

Nora commented that instead of playing with her little ponies, Della had organized them. I replied that for some of us organizing is playing. :-)

Then this past weekend Becka and I visited a long-time friend Cathy who had been Becka's roommate in college. Cathy and I chuckled about the picture Nora had posted and also about our own perfectionistic tendencies to be organized. And so I decided to do a blog post about OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). If you're wondering about my title, I jokingly call it CDO — putting the letters O, C, and D in alphabetical order, as they should be. (I wish I could say that I came up with that one.)

I hasten to state that I am not trying to make light of people who really do struggle with daily life because of this disorder. That must be a terribly difficult thing to deal with the resulting debilitation. The humor in today's post is mostly about those of us who are perfectionists or have some OCD tendencies — when things are not totally orderly, it bothers us. Think of this post as more of a test to see if you have OCD tendencies. This next cartoon illustrates OCD quite well.

OCD Spider

See how quickly you can spot the thing/s out of place in the following pictures. How quickly you can find them and how much they bother you might signal how CDO you are. OK, here goes!
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Whirlwind Weekend

A month ago I told you in my blog post that I would be attending the 40th class reunion of the students who were my first French 2 class the year I began teaching high school in 1973. They were the class of '75. It was a bit strange to see "my kids" as 58 year olds! It was such a nice evening and all part of a weekend on steroids.

I was able to ride up to Detroit and back with one of the members of the class and his son. We left at 6:00 Friday morning and arrived in time to change clothes and get to the graduation ceremony of the 2015 class of the school where I taught my first 11 years out of college, Inter-City Baptist High School. It was a special blessing to see that the school is continuing on in fulfilling the same mission it had when I taught there over 30 years ago.

After graduation everyone was invited to a reception in the school gym. I saw people from literally every decade of my adult life — former students from my years there and from my years of teaching at BJU, former colleagues (one of whom had a grandson graduating that night!), parents of former students, old friends from Detroit and from Greenville. I had a great time talking to many people, sharing remembrances, and learning what's been going on in many lives. It was a super-encouraging time! My daughter Megan picked me up afterwards to take me to their house.

Saturday morning I enjoyed time with our grandkids Drew and Maddie. We all enjoyed a breakfast of donuts from Dutch Girls. If any of you live in the Detroit area and haven't tried Dutch Girls donuts, you need to!

Saturday late morning I drove down to Ohio to visit my mother in the nursing home. Poor Mom is in month 19 of hospice. It was such a nice visit! My sister came to spend the time with us also, and we all swapped stories from the past. It was great to see Mom smiling, laughing, and taking part in the story telling. I never know when my visit with her will be the last, and so I was especially glad that this one was so pleasant.

I drove back to Detroit and arrived just in time for the class reunion. It was great to be able to talk at least a short time with each of the 18 class members who came to the reunion. The one who came the farthest to attend is now living in Denver. The stories flowed like water before, during, and after the delicious meal. Before we all went for a tour to see what the school looks like now, pictures were taken of all the class members present. Here's a particularly nice one.

'75 Class Reunion

I was the only one of their former teachers who was able to attend, and I have to say that I was treated like royalty. They wanted me to get into their group picture, but I told them the spouses should take pictures of just the classmates first. When I went to join them, I was going to slip in at the end of a row. They insisted that I be front and center. Since the shorter people were in the front, I got down on one knee and hammed it up.
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