Fatherhood as a Five: A Personal Reflection
Ever since the birth of my son more than 8 weeks ago I have withdrawn my energy from blogging, academic pursuits and from time with friends and family. Withdrawing energy from areas of interest can be a sign of depression. It is also a typical Five reaction to life’s challenges. “Pull back!” says the Five, “Life is hard right now and there is not enough of me to go around.”
Fives withdraw their energy because they live with a heightened sense that there is not enough. This lens of scarcity is so fundamental to their way of seeing they don’t know that scarcity colored glasses rest on their very nose. These lenses are so much a part of who we are, as Fives, that we unknowingly see right through them.
When I was about 10 years old I remember standing in the kitchen of my childhood home. Even though it was the 90s the ugly, brownish linoleum from the 70s was still on the floor. There I was, standing on that linoleum one day after school when I had a rare impulse—to tell my mother of my needs. I was looking at my mom on the other side of the kitchen by the sink and I was thinking about something (I don’t remember what) that had happened at school that was bothering me. It was not my habit even at that tender age to take my worries to my mother, but I was upset so I made up my mind to let my problems-- my needs --be known. I raised my head and opened my mouth to speak my mind and out of nowhere my older sister rushes into this scene with the force of her Four drama, “Mom, you will never guess what happened to me today!” She rushes on without taking a breath and pours her tragedy out to my mother who is loving and consumed by my siblings story. Together, they delve into the abyss of my sister’s problem. My head drops. I go silently to my room. There was not enough space in that ugly old kitchen for my needs that day. This ugly kitchen story is my parable for scarcity—the snapshot that represents the entire movie of my education in resource scarcity.
Now, more than 20 years later, I am a father and my son cries because he has needs. This is a problem because it turns out that when there is not enough space for your needs, there is not enough space for your son’s (or anyone else’s) needs either. When you live in an economy of scarcity, all bids for time and energy are an inconvenience.
Fives desire to retain their resources, information, personal privacy, private space, or anything that will fuel them so that they can meet the needs within themselves and others. But it is never enough because avarice is still at the heart’s core. The consequence is a contracted heart, a hoarding of the self. This contracted heart is so dire because when you are afflicted with a small heart and scarcity colored glasses and your son cries you will be filled with hatred and resentment, instead of love.
It seems that Five’s, like all types, need a new lenses. We need a new way of seeing that reconstructs the whole universe. Perhaps this is why the Hebrew creation poem begins with a liturgy of abundance. Perhaps Fives are so close to God’s heart that God gave a poem of generosity to tell us of the abundance that is woven into the very fabric of the universe. The poem keeps saying, “It is good, it is good, it is good, it is very good.” God fills this world with abundance. The creation story tells of how God endowed all of creation with vitality. God fills humanity, animals and plants with the capacity to “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Russ Hudson, reminds Fives that, “Like all the types, Fives need to do what scares us the most. We must make contact and touch the living moment… the living moment reveals its nature.” God created the moment and God has saturated it with abundance. As we take the risk and make contact the world… as I make contact with my son… I move beyond this economy of scarcity and discover that abundance is at the heart of the universe.
We forget that God has woven abundance into the fabric of the universe. The Israelites forgot this when they were wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. They only saw sand, but God saw manna—divine bread sent from heaven. God sent manna to the Hebrews everyday while they were in the desert, with strict instructions not to horde the food for the next day. God would send more the very next morning—God’s people need only trust that God has created a world where they are safe in the arms of the God who provides day after day.
Every morning I awake to my crying son. He cries, “Dad, I’m hungry! Is there manna today?” I have forgotten this, but every morning I awake with the same cry-- God is there enough today? Every morning I go to the fridge where there is formula aplenty for my son. Maybe there is enough for me too.