My eleven-year-old son came down from his bath last night and announced that he wanted to take a personality test.
He'd just finished reading Trouble Don't Last, an award-winning book about a young slave escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The book, he said, got him thinking about the question, "Who am I?"
We headed to the computer (never mind that it was past 10 pm), where I typed in "myers briggs online personality test." I'd done a Myers-Brigss test years ago (I'm an INFJ, BTW) and was amazed by how well it captured my personality. I wasn't sure how well an online test would work, or if the test would be accurate with an eleven-year-old boy, but I figured what the heck?
Boy #1 was fascinated. He eagerly answered the questions, pausing occasionally to ask for my input. Seventy-two questions later, we pressed "Score It" -- and learned that Boy #1 is an ENFP.
The descriptions were dead on. An ENFP is an extremly outgoing, interesting, vivacious person. ENFPs feel things deeply and have a knack for sensing the emotional temperature in any room. (I've said this about Boy #1 forever!) They're big picture learners and often ponder the deep questions of life. Among other things, they often make excellent salespeople, politicians and actors.
If I was stunned at how accurately the test nailed his personality, Boy #1 was downright giddy. For the first time in his life, he saw in black-and-white that he is not some kook, some strange kid who's just messed up and confused. He saw that all these things he thinks are "wrong" or "different" about him are simply personality traits -- personality traits that add up to a pretty great person.
He saw his intensity not as a liability, but as part of who he is. He saw his tendency to dream about the future as fully typical of his personality, not as an abnormality.
His personality type is rare; only about 2-3 % of the population are ENFP. Even that made him feel better. No wonder he doesn't know many kids "like him!"
It was a beautiful, wonderful evening. My son learned more about himself, my gut feelings about my son were confirmed and we learned more about how and why different people get along (or not).
I never would have thought of administering a personality test to my eleven-year-old, but I'm so glad I did. Why don't you try it with your own boys? Let me know what you find out!