Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Enneagram

 One of my FB friends, a retired special ed teacher, posted a summary of what preschool kids are like temperamentally.  I still am like that, impatient, inquisitive, challenging, sometimes impulsive.  When put to one or more of those online free enneagram tests my type comes up consistently as an Investigator or Explorer.  Now, these twelve innate personality types have a consistent distribution in the population but probably a skew in different subsets of the population.  My guess would be that the inmates at SuperMax have a different distribution than those appointed to the Federal Bench by the President, though both subpopulations have all twelve types of mindsets represented in some fashion.  And very diverse populations, such as the citizens of Delaware, would have the same distribution as in the larger population.

My own characteristics seem to serve me pretty well in my medical world, one where inquiry and maybe a little compulsivity have value, not as well in my Jewish world, or at least the organizational component of it, where independence and challenge are often regarded by those whose enneagrams mark them as Achievers as threats to stability more than as resources to progress or adaptation.  Innate Loyalists are more valued there, though it comes at a high price.  The Piper is probably being paid right now.

So while the venerable organizations with its Leaders and Loyalists have found themselves diminishing for some time, there remains a more amorphous outlet for reassembling those Explorers.  As far back as the 1970's, the first Jewish Catalog had chapters on Havurah movements, a counterculture of Jews with Isro hairdos forming their own minyanim.  Many were initially unwelcome by the synagogue leaders who regarded them as disruptive hippies, then invited back when they realized they needed people with bimah skills.  In a more updated fashion, we see a floundering United Synagogue reaching out to the defectors who left for cause, less concerned about populating the kehillot with the maximum number of tuchases but more concerned with restoring a better vibrancy to the experience of those who participate, making it more inviting to those who might want to participate.

My own congregation seems to lag behind on this, focusing more on dues paying numbers than on the talents that those members might bring.  Leaders and Loyalists and Peacemakers prevail.  The Explorers and Artists  and Challengers can be put on hold a while longer.

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