Birth Order

There is a theory that common personality preferences exist among people based on whether they were first born, last born, only child, or middle child.  The general public believes this theory is true.  My wife is a great advocate of this theory and uses it to explain conflicts and preferences she observes in our children and grandchildren.  Psychological experts do not acknowledge any factual reality to this theory as it presumably can not be proven as a certainty.  However, I believe there are distinctions that are produced from within the family dynamic.  Every family varies in its strengths, weaknesses, and overall characteristics.  Nevertheless, birth order is consistent.  Jewish law recognized birth order regarding  inheritance tradition, giving the birth right to the first born. Moreover, the first born belonged to God and was to be redeemed, whether the first born of flocks and herds or children.

The common personality traits are as follows: First born – Natural leader, ambitious, responsible; Middle Child – Social butterfly, peacekeeper, fairness-obsessed; Baby – Free spirit, risk taker, charming.  Several other factors can throw off these general tendencies, such as: individual temperament, gender of siblings, physicality (e.g. where one child is much bigger), speciality (e.g. a special talent or ability), and age spacing.  When these other factors are not present, the birth order traits seem to be evident, even stark in some situations.

Rather than judge others, observing these preferences can occasionally help explain different responses and even resolve conflict.  The Briggs-Myers personality type indicator is a test that analyses personality preferences.  It too can provide insight into perspectives that produce drastically different choices.  Also, it reveals some general, although not definitive, differences between men and women.  Similarly, the First Born might clash with each other when they are married.  This is not to suggest they shouldn’t marry, only that recognizing the traits may help resolve conflict, if and when it arises.

We see these distinctions in our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren.  I believe the Middle Child needs a little extra attention as the oldest and baby often demand it ahead of them.  Where a First Born marries a Baby things are usually more harmonious than between two First Borns, but we are so complex no one can be dogmatic about birth order. Consider King David who was the baby of many siblings and he became a great warrior and leader.  I think its good to consider birth order one of the blessings of the family which is the foundation of any healthy society.  God uses everyone and designed us with our own distinctive characteristics.  Even within the same family we grow within an environment that impacts our perspectives and preferences.  Our creator is a personal God, though He is unchanging in perfection, and we are temporal in this life, but believers look forward to eternal live in God’s presence.

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