• Michael Wood and Ricky Britner

Temperament - Personality, Character, and Behavior


In our previous blog entry, we discussed the purpose of temperaments. We’d like to further discuss the influence that temperament has in our lives by drawing out how character and personality are developed.

A tree is a good visual illustration to demonstrate the concept of temperaments. As roots are the foundation of a tree, so each person's temperament functions as the "roots" of their being. A tree's roots are present at the beginning stage of a tree’s life. In the same way, God creates each person with a temperament at conception. Our temperament is the foundation and core of who we are.

As we begin to interact with our environment in light of our temperament, we begin to develop a character - in our analogy, the "trunk" of the tree. It’s the part of us that is learned through childhood training. Character is developed in multiple ways: through our relationships, education, attitudes, beliefs during trials, trauma, and temptations combined with temperament. Our character is who we are when no one else is around; it’s what we really think and how we act when no one is looking. The trunk can have many characteristics. It can have many grooves, go in many directions, and either be short or tall. Environment affects this area of the tree. Perhaps the tree was nurtured by a farmer who fed it nutrients regularly, or maybe it only received water when it rained. It’s possible one of the branches were broken off by a storm. In comparison, individuals are affected by their environment. Each person grew up under different parenting styles and has encountered unique "storms" in life.

The last part of the tree (and of our analogy) is personality - the "leaves", or an outward expression of a tree's (and person's) life and health. Our personality is what we want others to see, it is the "fake" self. A man may act tough around other men when he is actually a teddy bear; a woman may appear outwardly strong but struggling on the inside. Our personality is, in many cases, the self that we need to show or what we think others want to see in us. This can be seen most clearly during the first days at a new job or on a first date. Our personality is our social mask and what we present to others.

The leaves of the tree also have a symbolic emphasis. The leaves give the tree its unique look. There are trees with many leaves, others with a few, and some with small or large leaves.

Character and personality can sometimes mirror temperament traits. An individual with a specific temperament may tend to be very comfortable being funny and positive constantly in all three areas—inclusion, control, and affection (which will be discussed in the next blog), while another individual can have a very private and serious temperament, but have developed the personality of someone with a positive, happy temperament.

Remember the Temperament Tree as you continue to develop an understanding of your behavior and attitudes.

Personality ("Leaves")

Character ("Trunk")

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Temperament ("Roots")

These three segments are the culmination of who we are. ![endif]--

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