After I wrote “The Enneagram of Parenting,” I decided to write a book for teaching children the Enneagram. Children had been learning the Enneagram from my Enneagram of Parenting book from looking at the many cartoons, but I wanted to write a book specifically for younger children from six or younger to ten. My first dilemma was: how would kids see my drawings as representing types of people? I was afraid if I drew human characters they might resemble someone a child might know, a neighbor kid for example, which could confuse them. So I decided to use animals.
I wanted to have a mystery to keep the children’s attention, so I had the birthday cake go missing and the animals look for it in ways characteristic of their type. One example is the Romantic who sings a song that so beautifully she is sure the cake will hear it and come running to see who is making this wonderful music. A romantic idea, indeed. You can see a drawing of this dressed up Romantic horse on my Psychology Today blog of April 13, 2010: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-career-within-you/201004/peace-the-inside-out-ii
I wondered if I should have a fierce animal for the most assertive type and a gentle animal for a gentle personality. I decided to go against stereotyping, so I made a tiny goldfish represent the most assertive type. At the end of each type’s section we hear the character that represents that type say something like, “I hope we find the cake soon so we can have the most PERFECT party!” – or whatever adjective best describes its type’s idea of a great party. Freddy Five, the Observer rabbit, wants to have the most INTERESTING party in the world.
By the end of the book we have met all the characters and the mystery of the missing cake has been solved. You won’t guess what happened to the cake in a million years. It does turn up, though, so the party goes on. There’s a moral to the story, too. In addition, the Enneagram does its own magic by showing children nine different styles of behaving that are all perfectly acceptable and honored. Children will recognize themselves and friends and family in this book and they’ll notice that personality differences really do exist and that they’re okay. Even good! It’s an excellent book to use in schoolrooms and families to further the value of tolerance.
For Reviews and more information: “Finding the Birthday Cake; Helping Children Raise Their Self-esteem” http://www.wagele.com/Finding.html