When it comes to raising healthy children in an orphanage, there is not one type of person perfectly suited for the job – it’s a village effort! Every personality type brought to the staff table has a place of importance, just as in any family.
When most people think about working in an orphanage, they usually only consider one job position – a caregiver. The fact is, though, that there are many important roles that need to be filled. Whether you have already entered the world of orphan care, or are just diving in, it’s important to know your personality strengths and be confident in what you have to offer.
If you aren’t sure what your enneagram type is, that’s OK! You can head over to Truity.com to take the quick test. There’s a lot to explore and learn when you know your number. Check out mine and my wife’s favorite comedic duo, Leeann & Michelle —two moms who create hilarious videos about each type. For a good laugh, see their video on enneagram types summer parenting HERE.
And now, here is how each enneagram type is essential to the daily function of an orphanage and the healthy lives of our kiddos! Of course, this in no way determines what an individual will/won’t actually be good at, but is all in good fun.
The Reformers have a great internal combination for orphanage work: Idealism and Structured Values. Their ability to take a mission personally and aim for the best possible outcome (idealism), is an absolute must on our staff. They carry purposeful energy, the kind that fights for the rights of an undervalued child. When combined with a heavy sense of order and moral duty (structured values), The Reformer is able to objectively provide the necessary boundaries for a child who has been left without guidance.
Without The Helpers, orphanages would be hard pressed to survive. This is the person you want waiting by the front door when a new child arrives at the home. Tender, attentive and loving, The Helpers fulfill the needs that only a sensitive type should fill, intuitively guiding a child through the process of healing. At their best, this type offers the child a sense of belonging and importance. When not working directly with the children, The Helpers have a knack for filling in the gaps that, if left unattended, could hurt the effectiveness of the home.
Watching The Achiever in action on behalf of a children’s home is inspiring. This type will go the distance to carry the banner, often best-placed in a position that represents the home to the world. Their attractive energy goes a long way to make connections in fundraising and keeping the rest of the staff focused and positive. At their best, The Achievers can empower children to recognize their own potential and pursue a better future.
One of the key elements to a successful home is its ability to share the vision in a way that motivates empathetic compassion within the broader community. Orphan care is a heart-felt, social endeavor, and The Individualists are the perfect people to capture the emotion and creatively spread it to others. When working well, they will often have a unique interpretation of the soul behind the organization and help it stand out. Interacting with the kids, The Individualists can bring imagination, authentic emotion and spiritual awareness to the forefront of their lives.
The Investigators can play a critical role in keeping a home accountable and effective. Their attention to detail, coupled with a tendency towards envisioning and creating better systems and outcomes makes them the perfect counsel or advisor. Their ability to assess and understand is especially helpful to children whose world has been marked by chaos, teaching the skills of critical thinking and informed empowerment.
The inner workings of an orphanage can be stressful, rendering the need for staff members with absolute dedication. True to their name, this is where The Loyalists come in. They are protective of their loved ones and hold fast to their beliefs and ideals. This stubbornness against all odds can pull a child through a difficult time and create an atmosphere of security. Always on the hunt for what is safest, most logical and trustworthy, The Loyalist can bring stability to an otherwise tumultuous situation or child.
In the best of ways, nobody does “child-like” quite the same as The Enthusiast. High energy and a bright, positive view of the world can revitalize the spirit of a child who was forced to grow up too quickly. This makes The Enthusiast well-suited for the job of caregiver or organizing activities, always ready to match the excitement of one child or twenty! As a team member, they can remind fellow staff members to stay positive and to invest themselves with vigor.
The Challenger is a force to be reckoned with, and can easily be the driving force behind the mission. From confidently navigating the necessary cooperation with governmental agencies to defending the children’s rights and advocating for their needs, The Challenger has a natural ability to lead the way and get things done. This no-nonsense type is absolutely crucial to an orphanage team, often fearlessly speaking the realities that everyone needs to hear to stay on track. And kids need that too, giving them a strong arm to lean on, and a firm hand to guide them.
And The Peacemaker. Coming out of a difficult past, often involving years of abuse and neglect, every child in an orphanage deserves to have this type in their lives. No other type can create an atmosphere of peace and spiritual rest like they can. The Peacemaker can help dissolve the inner tension in a confused child, lead them safely to self-regulation and even unite opposing viewpoints in a staff meeting. Though often the last to share their opinion, orphanage leaders would be wise to hear them speak, as The Peacemaker probably understands the soul of each individual child better than anyone.
Possible Positions: Teacher Councilor Pastor Behavior Regulator Caregiver
If you read through this entire piece, you probably noticed, “caregiver” is a possible position for every type. That isn’t meant to be a sweet sentiment, it’s a reality and a goal. Truthfully, every staff member is a “caregiver.” No matter what position you may take up in an orphanage, you are a walking role model and an important piece of the children’s lives. They will be watching you, interacting with you and you must be ready to advocate for them and teach them at any moment. Because no matter what type of person you are, if you have a heart or a mind to give a neglected child a better life, you’re the perfect person for this job!
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