Bennetts and the temperaments

Kate Gapp, Contributing Writer

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The Bennetts will speak on "The Temperament God Gave You" Wednesday Oct. 28at 7 p.m. in Lynch Auditorium. Photo by Rebecca Rosen.

Calling all students who are looking for an entertaining and edifying Wednesday evening: tonight from 7:00-9:00 p.m., Art and Laraine Bennett will be at the University of Dallas to speak on their area of expertise: the four temperaments.

Art and Laraine Bennett, parents of senior Lucy Bennet, are both scholars on the temperaments and co-authors of four books on temperaments and emotions: “The Temperament God Gave You,” “The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse,” “The Temperament God Gave Your Kids” and “The Emotions God Gave You.”

Art Bennett is currently president and CEO of Catholic Charities in Arlington, Va., and a marriage and family therapist.

Laraine Bennett is a freelance writer who holds a master’s degree in philosophy.

They became interested in the temperaments many years ago, when a priest friend informed them about the long-standing Catholic tradition of studying the temperaments in the context of spiritual formation and direction.

This intrigued them, and they began to research the Catholic understanding and use of the temperaments in all areas of life.

Lucy Bennett explained that because of the lack of scholarship, her parents decided to write a book (and eventually three more) on the temperaments specifically from a Catholic perspective, and they continue to give talks on this subject.

Thinkers as early as those in ancient times believed that four temperaments exist, and most agree that every person has a primary and a secondary temperament.

They are related to a person’s degree of introversion or extroversion, though not limited to that.

“You will have to come to the talk to find out exactly what are the four temperaments … and which one is yours,” Laraine Bennett said.

She added that the temperaments compose an innate part of each person’s personality.

“[Your] temperament is that part of your personality that you are born with — that God gave you,” Laraine Bennett said.

“Knowledge of the temperaments is ultimately aimed at self-knowledge, “ Lucy Bennett said.

“By knowing your temperament, you really get to know your faults and weaknesses, your innate tendency to do something,” Lucy Bennett said. “By knowing yourself and knowing someone else’s temperament … you can better understand someone and better forgive them and get along with them.”

Lucy Bennett explained that she knows the importance of knowing and understanding the temperaments from personal experience, especially since she and her three siblings each represent a particular one of the four temperaments.

Temperaments provide evidence that people are different, and that reminder can spark greater charity within the hearts of students as they encounter classmates, friends and family with various perspectives of the world and of themselves.

“Understanding temperament helps us to understand how we tend to react, so that we can make more prudent decisions — the best response to a given situation,” Laraine Bennett said. “Also, once we know our temperament, we will be able to identify our natural strengths and weaknesses and know where to focus our growth in virtue. We also become more understanding and forgiving of others.”

Not only can a better understanding of one’s own temperament help one to realize one’s natural tendencies, both negative and positive, but it also enables one to focus one’s energy where one can be most successful.

Laraine Bennett jokingly promised she and her husband would focus their presentation on “The Temperament God Gave the Students at UD” in particular.

Lucy Bennett encouraged all students to come listen to her parents’ talk.

“I think everyone should go because they’re hilarious,” Lucy Bennett said, before adding with a note of affectionate pride, “They really are scholars on the temperaments.”

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