Blended Traits: An Exercise In Family Identity

When my oldest two were just six and nine and our family was the early stages of blending, the four of us sat down at the kitchen table together to talk about who we were and wanted to be as a family.

Blending What Is

First, the plan was for each member of the family to contribute two personality traits that described them, were important to them or that they, in someway wanted to develop.

Here’s our combined list.


Then I asked them to briefly (as much as little kids can) explain why they chose their traits.

It was so interesting to hear how, apart from the whole of our family, each individual saw these traits in themselves – or hoped to see them.

Mine of course were “steadfast” and “glorifying.” Things I so much want to be, and now, some years later (a lot of years later), I can feel myself growing into.

My husband’s were “responsible” and “honest.” He has such a father’s heart and protector-spirit.

My son’s were “gifted” and “just.” And my daughter’s were “curious” and “sweet.” (See her being sweet below? Truth.) When they shared, I was impressed by their wisdom and insight.


Acknowledging Family Wholeness

The next step was to look for traits “one ring out” from our immediate family, the people sitting together at the table for this exercise. I encouraged my children to think of their dads’ families. My husband and I thought of our own parents.

Here’s our list.

Charismatic and

This step, honestly, was an accident. Our first list was so beautiful as it was, and then, at the same time, it didn’t feel whole.

I cannot tell you how invaluable it has been to be able to accept and honor our children’s whole identity, which whether we like it or not, includes their fathers and the traits my children recognize and identify with in them.

It’s profound, really.

Does your family have a list of character traits it is none of alone but all of together?

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