At eight years of age, Sasha was very gentle and loving toward family members, eager to please her parents and required very little discipline (unlike her older brother Jimmy). When anyone was upset in the family, Sasha was quick to comfort with a kind word or touch. She seldom argued with her older brother, often letting him have his way so that they would get along. She had a unique ability to see who the underdog was and quickly go to the rescue. On the few occasions when Sasha’s parents argued, she would become very upset and emotional, begging them not to fight and to be happy again. Her parents soon realized that it was much better not to argue in front of her. Sasha was destined to be the family peacemaker, for conflict was truly painful to her.
As Sasha grew she became more aware of the world outside her family, and her desire for harmony extended to cover the larger world as she knew it. Listening to the news, she would be disturbed by the problems other people faced, and was relentless in her questions about why people suffered or why wars occurred. She could not imagine that anything in the world was more important than helping and protecting people and could not understand why anyone would purposefully hurt someone else. Although her mother, Joan (an ESTJ), admired her daughter’s loving heart, she worried that she was fragile and would be easily hurt by others.
Sasha’s mother had other concerns, too. Sasha was very particular about friends and was surprisingly content to play alone for hours at a time. This desire for private quiet time intensified after she learned to read. When Joan would try to encourage her to put down her book and play with a friend, she would be so engaged with reading that she would hardly even hear her mother’s suggestion. Joan was worried that she would not have enough friends, and that she was missing out on a lot of fun. Sasha did have a best friend and seemed to really enjoy her company, but her mother felt strongly that this was unhealthily narrow. She often wondered to her husband Bill whether Sasha was unnaturally shy and not properly developing her social skills. Bill (an INTP) was not particularly concerned about this. In truth, Bill had been quiet and shy growing up, and still preferred just a few close friends. Joan was just the opposite, and she and Bill had had a running debate about their social life (or lack thereof from Joan’s viewpoint), for years. Joan continued to suggest to Sasha that she invite more friends over, and Sasha continued to resist.
Although Joan found Sasha’s many ideas and insights fascinating and creative, her second major concern about her was that she was not particularly realistic or practical. Sasha was always asking to change her room around, but never interested in keeping it neat. To Joan, Sasha was sweet and endearing, but might easily struggle with taking care of everyday life. Homework and chores were a good example. Sasha might work incredibly hard on an art project or writing a story but getting her to complete routine worksheets was a constant struggle. Her mother learned early on how to motivate Sasha. Whether it was homework or chores, she was not allowed to read her favorite books until she finished her work. This helped to keep her on track, but Joan feared that she never really learned the critical lesson. Joan wanted Sasha to grow up to be a responsible, independent, and hardworking, adult. To that end, Joan reminded her frequently of how important it was to be organized and responsible and to get your work done. Whenever Joan lectured her, Sasha felt inadequate. She would quietly listen to her mother, but she wished she could just go to her room and be alone.
Bill could see that Joan’s attempts at pushing their daughter to be more organized and responsible were only making Sasha withdraw from her mother. He knew that Joan was trying to help her, but at times the two of them seemed like oil and water. They cared about each other, but did not understand each other. Bill did not have the same concerns as Joan did about Sasha’s perceived weaknesses. He recognized that she was highly perceptive and creative. Her reading and writing skills were excellent for her age and he enjoyed her insights about people and situations. She loved learning, especially literature, history and art. When he would read one of her stories and tell her how good it was, she was always pleased. But when he told her how much he loved her and how unique he thought she was, she just glowed. He tried on many occasions to suggest to Joan that her love and kind words were more motivating than anything else, including books. Joan knew that Sasha wanted her approval, but she also feared that one had to be careful not to indulge a child, and that Sasha had to learn how to be responsible like everyone else.
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