Wednesday, July 10, 2013

North, South, East, and WEST by Sandra Timmons

We have visited the first set of opposites (sanguine[north] and melancholy[south]) and started on the second set by visiting the East (choleric).  Let’s finish the second set by heading west to meet the Phlegmatics.
Every family (in my opinion) should have at least one phlegmatic—more, if possible.  The phlegmatics are the natural peacemakers; they have a conciliating effect on others. They are usually humble and gentle and never seem to get upset, no matter what the circumstances, and they never hurry (which can sometimes be a wee, tiny bit of a problem).  They are kindhearted and sympathetic and never lack for friends because they make time for their friends.  Phlegs tend to be spectators in life, not getting too involved with the activities of others; they would rather listen than talk.  They tend to have a very dry sense of humor and a unique capability of seeing something humorous in others and in the things that they do.  The phlegmatics have an eye for detail and retentive minds which often enable them to be good imitators.  People in this group tend to come closer to being a totally balanced person than do any of the other temperaments.  They rarely function in the extremes or excesses of life but usually walk down the middle, thus avoiding conflict and decision on either side.  They are very competent and capable of leadership, but they would prefer working behind the scenes.
As babies and children, they are the easiest of all the temperaments to get along with.  Very little upsets them; they like to have friends to play with but are just as happy playing alone.  They are happy wherever they are and will tolerate a flexible schedule.  They do, however, like for their environment (room) to be neat and in order.
As drivers, phlegmatics are usually the slowest of all the temperaments.  They are usually the last ones to leave an intersection, and they rarely change lanes.  Most phlegmatics do not use freeway/interstate entrance ramps properly because they tend to want to slow down and almost come to a stop before entering the traffic instead of the opposite.  As teenagers, your phlegmatics will get few, if any, tickets and will rarely have accidents but can actually be a road hazard!
Phlegmatics—How to Get Along With Them and Help Them
1.       Realize that phlegmatics need direct motivation.  If a choleric parent has a phlegmatic child, the parent will need to help the phlegmatics learn how to set goals and achieve them.  Perhaps breaking goals down into attainable units will help them learn how to set up their own goals.  Sometimes just a compliment or a positive response is adequate.
2.      Don’t expect enthusiasm from phlegmatics; it simply is not in their nature to jump up and down or get all excited about most things. 
3.      Realize that they sometimes use procrastination as their method of control.  We all have methods of control which help us feel in charge of our own lives.  Since phlegmatics are rarely loud and/or outgoing, they can’t control their own lives as the other temperaments do.  Just be grateful that they have chosen a method that is not destructive—temper tantrums, anorexia, etc. 
4.      Insist that they make decisions.  This is not something that, as a general rule, they like to do, but they must learn that in everyday living, decision-making is a “must.”  It might help to remind them that decision-making is a form of controlling one’s own life. (see #3)
5.      Not only must they learn to make decisions, they must learn to accept and carry out responsibilities.  Phlegmatics can be very responsible people, but sometimes they must be given a little nudge in that direction. 
6.      Don’t allow them to be blamed for things they don’t deserve.  Because they are such peaceful people, they are often easy targets for some of the bolder temperaments. 
7.      Appreciate their even dispositions.  They are such pleasures to be around.  Florence Littauer believes that every family needs at least one phlegmatic.  And if they don’t have one, they should …import one!
Proverbs 15:4—Gentle words [as by a phlegmatic] cause life and health;
griping brings discouragement.

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