Similar to the Myers-Briggs test or 16 personalities test, identifying ourselves by our enneagram numbers seems to be the new way we communicate and relate to each other. When we see a friend smoothing over conflict and striving for harmony above all else, we say, “she’s a typical 9.” We all have that one friend who is a stickler for details and perfection, which is further understood when we find out she’s a type 1. Sticking true to type 5 fashion, I needed to dive a little deeper into each enneagram number and how their strengths can positively impact this virtual, blended or traditional school year.
Don’t know your enneagram number? There are many free tests accessible by Google search to find out which number best fits you.
Type 1: The Reformer. If this type is you, you may tend to be the parent who says, “This is the way your school taught you this? No, no, let’s do it this way instead.” Benefits: you can think creatively and out-of-the-box when helping kids through their homework. Down-side: you may tend to overwhelm yourself and others with new and different ways of learning. Use your natural “calm in the chaos” approach to find balance for your family this school year.
Type 2: The Helper. Do you find yourself asking everyone 10 times per hour, “Are you hungry? Do you need a drink? If you’re feeling stressed, should we go for a walk? Do you need a break?” While extra apple slices are appreciated, type 2’s can also tend to overwhelm themselves and others with their constant need to help (wanted or unwanted). Breathe deep and let it ride. As a 2 you’re naturally the caring and nurturing type. Trust that you’ll know when to step in when your kids really need it.
Type 3: The Achiever. If you had a morning meditation on a phrase such as, “Reach for the moon and you’ll land among the stars,” you might be a type 3. You are a natural cheerleader and coach—always pushing your kids to be their best. Try not to take it personally if your artistic and creative middle-schooler “isn’t a scheduled person” or is content with a B-letter grade. It’s important for 3’s to consistently reflect on who their cause is serving and provide love and support regardless of the goal achieved.
Type 4: The Individualist. Your “go against the grain” way of life may be really well-suited for school-at-home, but don’t forget that virtual school work still has the expectations of your district. Take this opportunity to check the box of organized schoolwork while also following your child’s lead in what interests them most. They feel safe expressing personal differences to you that they may not in a traditional classroom. Use it to your advantage this school year!
Type 5: The Investigator. If you find you’re more excited for the learning opportunities this school year rather than being nervous about the challenges that may arise, you might be a type 5. Or you might be equally nervous and excited. Or is it 60% excited and 40% nervous? Are you over-thinking and going down a rabbit hole as you’re reading this? Yep, you’re a type 5. Remember to communicate your thoughts and expectations and encourage your kids to do the same in order to have a productive teaching relationship this school year.
Type 6: The Loyalist. You are the definition of a mama bear. Your babies are precious and you will act as the human shield between them and the world. Sound relatable? Unfortunately, part of learning is trying, failing and trying again. As a type 6, you might be tempted to jump in and break the fall, but kids need experiences to learn from. Let them stretch and flex their experiment muscles this school year. They get confidence to try new things knowing you will always be in their corner — no matter what.
Type 7: The Enthusiast. Is pancakes with chocolate chips your everyday breakfast of choice? Or maybe you switch up the toppings day-to-day in order to match the mood? You’re a type 7, friend! We know you like to embrace the positivity party, so virtual school may feel draining with mundane routines, but remember kids need structure. Let the school provide the structure so you can provide the fun! Load up the kids for a road trip learning adventure. Field trips like this are sure to bring fun and memories to your family and will help keep negative mindsets at bay.
Type 8: The Challenger. Decisive, confident, unafraid of confrontation and a strong advocate for personal beliefs. What a positive role model for your kids! As you move through this school year, make a conscious effort to allow the “grey space” and vulnerability your kids may display while they are working through learning challenges. Use your strength of empowerment to support your kids through a new kind of school.
Type 9: The Peacemaker. If “go with the flow” is your go-to mindset, you might be a type 9. That mantra may just save you and your family through the challenges of virtual school. However do remember that there needs to be some structure to the day as well. You might be tempted to give in when your kids say they’re done, but stick to your guns! You will find the healthy balance between ease and challenge to make everyone happy in the end (just be sure you’re one of those happy people, too!)
At the end of the day, we are all doing the very best we can as parents. Fuel up on coffee and grace for yourself and for others. We will get through this!