Those of you who have lived with, or through, a fifteen-year-old girl know that adolescents of this age generally fight self-esteem issues. Call it hormones, peer pressure, society, or fat days, 15-year-old girls need a lot of love and reassurance that they are beautiful, beloved people.
When one of our progeny was 15, in the midst of this exact stage, she was called a dog by a speaker brought in by our church. The speaker, who earned a generous living by organizing church mission trips through an International Church Mission Trip Organization Agency, gave a group of young people the Gary Smalley Personality Assessment Tool Test. (The young people were part of a church-induced “mission trip” to a Christian camp that was looking for free counselors for the season.)
Based upon this one-page sheet, in which participants score themselves from 0-3 points on whether or not they are a “problem solver,” “optimistic,” “adaptable,” “analytical,” and 72 other attributes, human beings — in this case, insecure, emotionally fragile adolescents — are labeled Lions, Beavers, Otters, or Golden Retrievers.
Guess what my child was? How about yours? Or you? I mean, after all that orthodontia, do you want your son identified as a Beaver? Please follow the link to the full article at my BeliefNet Column, Commonsense Christianity: How Long Will We Let Other Christians Call Us Dogs?
As regular readers know, I am only able to post a teaser to the full story — and if you have sat through any form of “Christian” personality test through your church, please follow through. This kind of abuse only continues because we allow it to.