{Parenting} Shaping a High AQ Culture

Shaping culture. That’s what we’ve been thinking about lately as we prepare to bring Ethan home in a few weeks. So far, we’ve talked about shaping a God-centered culture and a learning culture. Next up, we want to shape a high AQ culture.

Behind this idea of a high AQ culture is an excellent book, Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities, by Paul Stoltz, who suggests that one’s AQ is more important than one’s IQ.

While IQ measures one’s intelligence, AQ measures how one handles adversity. AQ is about resilience, how you react when things don’t go your way.

Stoltz says there are 3 kinds of people

  1. Quitters simply quit climbing at some point along the journey.
  2. Campers may start out okay, but somewhere along the way, they get tired and take a much-needed break (which we all need from time to time). However, they enjoy resting and camping out so much that they decide to stay right where they are. They decide they’ve gone far enough.
  3. Climbers keep climbing no matter what obstacles get in their way, no matter what kinds of temptations or distractions come along. Sure, they take regular breaks and camp out from time to time, but their camp is a temporary location, not a permanent residence. Their eyes are on the destination, and they keep climbing!

While Paul Stoltz wrote Adversity Quotient in the 1990s, the concept of AQ is nothing new. The Apostle Paul (and others in Scripture) talked about (and modeled) the importance of high AQ centuries ago …

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1.2-4)

Paul also wrote, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4.4; see also 1 Thessalonians 5.16).

The basic idea is that no matter what you’re going through — when you feel out of control — you still get to choose your response. Scripture, life’s manual for living a God-honoring life, is full of examples of people who handled adversity well (as well as examples of people who didn’t) that we can learn from.

We want to cultivate a high AQ environment so that our child will have a AQ. We want to raise a climber, a person who’s resilient and keeps pursuing God’s plan no matter what.

Shaping a high AQ culture is going to be challenging, but the stakes are pretty high. In order to shape a high AQ culture in our home we must teach and model how to handle adversity. We’ll have to be aware of how we react to things (what we say, how we act, what we do afterward, etc.) because our little one will be watching!

Of course, we’ll never have perfect AQs. We’ll mess up at times, but we hope to do our best, with God’s help. We believe the quality — and the impact — of his Ethan’s life depends greatly on his AQ!

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Randy Willis

Follower of Jesus. Husband, Dad. Pastor.

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