Personality Expert Writes Book For Parents
Mansfield encourages readers to embrace children’s distinct types
By Silver HogueStaff Writer
Marilyn Mansfield wants to educate parents about children’s unique personalities.
After 20 years as an elementary school teacher in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas, the Kessler Park resident said she became fascinated by the study of personality types.
“It has always been interesting to me how the kids would respond differently to different things, and how varied their work ethics are,” Mansfield said. Mansfield said she decided to become a “certified personality trainer” after she read books by Florence Littauer, an internationally known speaker who uses personality types in everything from marriage couseling to executive coaching. Mansfield said she began working toward her certification about three years ago, after attending one of Littauer’s weeklong seminars in New Mexico.
Since that time, Mansfield has hosted numerous personality seminars for local women’s organizations. Her studies also inspired her to write her first children’s book, Being Me, Being Free, which was released in June.
“My affection has always been toward children, and parents kept asking me if I had a book, so I decided to write one from the perspective of a school teacher,” Mansfield said.
The book is all based on the teachings of Littauer, who breaks down personalities into four groups: Sanguine, Melancholy, Phlegmatic, and Choleric.
Readers can test themselves to see which category they’re most like, and there are worksheets in the back of the book to help parents communicate better with their child’s particular personality.
“There are different words parents can use to motivate their child’s unique disposition,” Mansfield said. “It’s really fascinating. There is no right, wrong, good, or bad personality. We’re just all different. It’s a valuable resource to provide insight and knowledge into your child — why they act the way they do, what you can expect, and what not to expect out of them.”
Her husband, Stephen Mansfield, president and CEO of Methodist Health System, said understanding personalities is the key to successful relationships.
“In any relationship, whether it’s my relationship as CEO of a company with 6,500 employees, my relationship with my daughter, or my wife, the key is understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “It’s very clear to me that understanding ourselves in our relationships is advantageous.”
Mansfield said she hopes the book will encourage children to embrace their unique personalities and realize that it’s OK to be different.
“Discovering my God-given personality has been an interesting and exciting experience,” said Dee Freeman, a former colleague of Mansfield’s in Tennessee. “I can see different personality characteristics in my children, and that knowledge helps me to parent them in a way that is best for each one. It helps me in every area of life and has given me a patience with people that I don’t think I had before.”