The Quirky Quote
The middle of the road is where the white line is
- and that's the worst place to drive.
~ Robert Frost
The Quirky Observation
Like left-handedness, which was once considered evil and necessary to change by many (and has its own national day tomorrow), being in the middle has a lot of negative connotations. Or if not entirely negative, then awkward or sometimes scary. Think middle age spread, mid-life crisis, middle of nowhere, middle of the night, changing horses in the middle of the stream, being caught in the middle, and knocking someone into the middle of next week. Plus, if you “give someone the finger,” it’s the middle finger being referred to.
The Quirky Fact
Middle children are considered all those who are neither first nor last. In a family of six children, middle children are then those born 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Using that definition, here are a few famous people who were or are middle children:
- Warren Buffet
- Princess Diana
- Bill Gates
- Michael Jackson
- David Letterman
- Jennifer Lopez
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Georgia O’Keefe (pictured)
- Martha Stewart
It’s a freebie this week: Research has shown us that children are especially gullible (as if we didn’t know). Andy Riley is the author of multiple, perversely humorous books, including Great Lies to Tell Small Kids, who has long known how easy it is to fool children. Among his suggested lines for older siblings to tell younger ones are:
- Bowling balls have retractable eyes.
- Eggs talk to each other after you shut the fridge door.
You can access the free discussion exercise here.
Middle Child Syndrome is the belief that middle children are excluded, ignored, or even outright neglected because of their birth order, and that that affects their personalities. In reality, many other factors shape us – gender (such as whether the middle child is the only boy or girl), family finances and dynamics, and each child’s opportunities, to name a few. Nevertheless, the following quiz lists personality traits commonly attributed to middle children.
All but 2 of the following traits are associated with middle children. Which are not?
- They tend to be the family peacekeepers and excellent negotiators.
- They tend to go along to get along so are not usually innovative or creative.
- They are independent.
- They value time alone.
- They are self-motivated.
- For the above reasons they do not have a lot of strong friendships.
Answers and explanations are at the end of this document.
1) Do you believe your birth order affected your personality? If so, in what ways? Discuss with your siblings or others, if possible.
2) Many children are more self-conscience about their middle names than being a middle child. For example, did you know that actor Richard Gere’s middle name is Tiffany? Or that Quincy Jones’ middle name is Delight? (Hmmm. Maybe another quiz is in order.) Do you have a middle name you are shy about sharing?
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The Kiosk of Resources
Answers to Quiz
2. and 6. are false as may be understood from the way they are phrased. As our list of 10 sample people who are middle children surely illustrates, perhaps because they have had to be creative to get attention within their families, many continue to be innovative throughout their lives. As for friendships, because they are excellent peacekeepers and negotiators, it is not surprising that they develop strong friendships and relationships in the process.