Monday, March 17, 2008

Colored Motives

I wrote most of this post over a month ago (final edit on Monday, March 17), but wanted to get it posted. Rose and I participated in an elective class at our church on Wednesday nights since January. It has been a lot more fun than I anticipated. The presenters were what I would call my consuegros (a term that my Chilean friends would understand--I really can't think of one word in the English language that captures who they are), the parents-in-law of our son, Greg, Van and Tammy Benson. Maybe if Tammy were the dominant, up-front, presenter, instead of inserting extremely poignant insights when her fun-loving husband needs a lifeline, it would not be as much fun. The reality, however, is that it has been fun, and lots of it.

I think that Van is a very able communicator, and the group dynamics the occurred in the class sessions were valuable. The class is called Motive Matters. I've been hearing a lot about it for the last year and a half ago, when it came to the forefront of family discussions at the in-law stage. Emily (our daughter-in-law) asked us to take the personality/core-motive profile online. You can take a free test by clicking on the link a in the first sentence of this paragraph. We took the test months ago, which resulted in being assigned to a particular color (in this system: red, blue, white, or yellow). I

have seen personality grouping systems in the past, and have pretty much made fun of them. Several years ago, we as a faculty went through some sessions in a similar system called True Colors. The president's wife was a certified trainer. I think just about every department in the college had access to that training. I heard lots of talk about people being this color, or that color.

Over thirty years ago, we came across Tim LaHaye's Spirit-Controlled Temperament, which divides personality/temperament types into the following categories: sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic. LaHaye revived some ancient personality theory with that system, popularizing it for the evangelical world.

Gary Smalley and John Trent created a similar system based on traits of animals: lion, beaver, otter, and a golden retriever. Those developed in a book titled The Treasure Tree. It appears to me that Smalley may have modified his descriptions, now using these categories to describe basically the same thing: Captain, Social Director, Steward, Navigator.

All of these systems are similar. Van and Tammy credit the Color/People Code with saving their marriage. They will be going to Utah soon to become re-certified as trainers. Most of the training work they do is in the corporate world. As followers of Jesus, however, they enjoy presenting these concepts within the church, as they can freely add Scripture. I commend them and their work. I was enriched by participating in it. I think they will begin a new cycle at College Heights Christian Church as a Wednesday night elective on March 26.

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