Thomas seemed to be a force to be reckoned with wherever he went. Not that he was a difficult child, for in truth Thomas had many wonderful qualities. He was outgoing and loved to be around, well, almost anyone. He seemed to be comfortable with adults and children alike and was often the center of attention. It was safe to say that he would never be ignored; he made sure of that. By the second grade it seemed as if Thomas was friendly with every boy in his grade as well as his current classroom. For that matter he seemed to know a lot of the adults as well and comfortably greeted and held conversations with them all. He was well known and well liked.
As a good SJ, Thomas was hardworking and determined. In fact when he decided he wanted to learn something (from tying his shoes to subtraction), he persisted until he mastered it. He quickly acclimated to school routines and worked as aggressively on learning math as he did on kickball. He usually received lots of positive feedback from his teacher. He worked hard to complete his assignments correctly and on time. He was very responsible and took pride in doing things well. Thomas paid attention to rules and instructions and made every effort to follow them. He was confident and always willing to raise his hand and venture an answer to a question, and typically he knew the answer. He quickly memorized new information such as weekly spelling lists, grammar rules, and science facts. He also had quite a competitive streak. Regardless of the subject, Thomas wanted to win. Whether it was getting the best grades, writing the longest story in the class, or making the most home runs–you name it–he wanted it. Interestingly enough, he was not particularly conceited and was usually a good sport about competition, whether he won or lost. Competing was fun to Thomas. It was the juice that made the effort worthwhile.
He was a big talker and rather outspoken. If there was one area in which Thomas got into trouble, it was usually due to talking too much in class. Teachers had to frequently remind him to be quiet while the class was completing assignments. It was frustrating to his teachers, because he was often talking out loud about his work, as if he were simply thinking it through. This not only disrupted the work of his neighbors, but he would inadvertently give out answers before other students had the chance to complete their work. When admonished by teachers, Thomas would sometimes be puzzled, not even realizing that he had been talking.
By the second grade, Thomas was already an excellent baseball player and particularly loved to be the catcher. He had no problem being in the limelight and barking orders to his teammates. His teammates looked up to him and respected his natural leadership, although he could be pretty blunt in his criticism of who did what wrong, even when he was the guilty party, himself. Some of his teammates were hurt when he criticized their efforts and felt that he took things too seriously.
His mother, Laura, could not agree more. Thomas sometimes overwhelmed his mom, an ENFP. She was forever amazed by his determined and organized nature. He seemed to be able to do everything well, and persisted until he did. But Laura worried that he took life too seriously and was rather rigid in his expectations. He was surprisingly critical, for example, when she was late picking him up from school, or she forgot to complete a school form on time. In truth, Thomas already thought that his mother was a bit disorganized and undependable. Being rather blunt and outspoken by nature, he did not hesitate to let her know of his concerns. Sometimes she found it amusing, but she also felt a bit hurt. Laura felt that Thomas needed to learn to be more flexible and relax and enjoy things. In addition, it wouldn’t hurt if he were less critical of others.
Laura got little support from her husband Jim (ISTJ) who thought that Thomas was terrific the way he was (and secretly agreed that Laura was a bit disorganized and undependable). In truth, Laura and Jim disagreed about a lot of issues regarding parenting. Jim was a pretty tough disciplinarian when needed, while Laura felt that they should spend more time talking and problem-solving. Jim thought talk was cheap and that it was more effective for children to experience the consequences of their actions. This issue had never been resolved. Laura wanted Thomas to be more empathetic, and kinder toward others. Jim thought that the world was a tough and competitive place, and they had to raise strong and independent children. Thomas was fine the way he was. Both Jim and Laura struggled with Thomas’ increasing demands for independence. By the time he was eight years old, he wanted to be able to ride his bike, by himself, to meet friends several miles away. Neither Jim nor Laura thought that this was a good idea (although Jim liked his spunk). They could easily see that Thomas would always push the limits of his freedom and independence and that this would be a never-ending issue.
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