Can I Teach Temperaments- Across Cultures?

Most of my readers know I went to Peru to speak at a Children’s Pastor’s Worship Conference.

Of course I taught from my book, Teaching Kids Authentic Worship.

However, one of the classes I taught was on the four temperaments.


I was curious how it would be received (through a translator) and I was blown away by the exciting reactions!

Several Peruvian teenagers attended the conference because they work with kids in their home churches. I have SO many stories, but only have time for one. I’m going to tell you about a beautiful teenager, I’ll call Elsa.

After one class, where I had explained differences in the four temperaments, I was inundated with questions.

This one conversation nearly had me on the floor with laughter. Soft spoken 19 yr. old Elsa walked up, with a translator, and said, “I have a room full of YOU- I need them to be quiet but they are too loud and funny and they won’t learn from me, what do I do?”

Answering, with my translator, I responded, “Do you mean you have a lot of YELLOW kids in your class- with my temperament?”

Suddenly animated she answered via translator, “Yes- yes, YOU- YOU- they are loud and funny like YOU, and I want them to care about lesson, not be funny and loud.”

clipart crazy teacher

Then, the precious girl, thinking she had offended me, started talking so fast the translator was laughing. Everyone watching realized what had just happened too. I assured her it was a great question. I was flattered, not offended, that she understood her class so well!

Elsa is a beautiful, sincere BLUE/GREEN Sunday School teacher. (She had taken the temperament test.) This was her fifth year as a teacher. However, this year she had been overwhelmed with a classroom of little YELLOWS. I assured her that her love for the YELLOWS, and building relationships with them, should be her first priority.

Did she know YELLOWS want to be loved by everyone? Once they know you love them, you can require respect- the second most important part of teaching.

Respect from students is critical if a teacher wants their class to learn. Once YELLOWS feel loved, they will want to please their teacher. Then, you can insist on respect. This is a simple principle for us. However, I was then told this is not part of the Peruvian culture. They do not correct or discipline behavioral problems in classroom situations.

I was expecting this to stop her in her tracks, when suddenly, Elsa threw her arms around me. Unpredictably, she started saying, “Now I know! Now I know! Yes, now I know!”

Elsa went on to explain that, before coming to the conference, she had been ready to stop teaching children.

She had never heard about this thing called temperaments – never realized there are four distinct temperaments when dealing with kids (or adults). She asked permission to make copies of the test to take back to her church.

Elsa thought she had been wasting time every week, trying to teach a lesson she had spent hours preparing, and having no one listen. Her fear was the kids would never learn about Jesus.

I saw a light go on in her eyes! She announced she was going to change her teaching completely and just show Jesus’ love to each child. I suggested YELLOWS love compliments and attention- things she had never tried. They love friends and want everyone to like them. I encouraged her to pray how to love each of her kids – because a class full of ‘ME’ would take a ton of prayer!

Teaching kids about Jesus begins with unconditionally loving them with His love. Each child learns differently- yes, each temperament learns differently. Ultimately, she will win them over with God’s unconditional love. Once their hearts are softened, they are more open to following rules and hearing the Gospel.

Oh, what I would give to be a mouse in Elsa’s Sunday School class on Sunday mornings from now on!

By the way, subscribe FREE to my blog and you will get the test and my booklet on Temperaments!




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