It’s funny when you’re acutely aware of the different DISC behavioral styles and analyse peoples behavior by observing them and what you notice.

Recently I was watching my 6 year old son at nippers. They were playing a game where they had to collect water from the ocean with a sponge. There were about 8 teams, 5 nippers in each team. Each nipper had to run down to the ocean fill up the sponge with water, squeeze as much water as they can into the bucket to see which team could fill it up first.

It was honestly the most interesting race I’ve seen 6 year olds do. As I watched the boys in my sons team, before the whistle blew, some of the boys faces were on, they were ready and raring, they wanted to win. One of the guys at the back was looking around the beach a little aimlessly, not at all engaged, another was making sure everyone was ready to go and another making sure the first guy was behind the line and not going to cheat. Now obviously most of this would prob be oblivious to a parent who doesn’t look at behaviours as I do, but given its in my DNA now, I watched on with great curiosity as to how it was going to unfold.

The whistle blew the first guy went straight down to the water, barely touched the sponge in the water, straight back to the bucket – super fast only to realise his disappointment that he hadn’t gathered much water. The second guy went in – slowly pushed the sponge under water, waited, waited, waited until it had clearly soaked up as much water as it could, his team was yelling hurry up and he picked up the heavy sponge and carried is back to the bucket only to have the guy who went before him grab it out of his hands and ring out the water into the bucket. Then it was my sons turn. He ran out deep, beyond where he needed to go and where I thought he would go because he had his own agenda. He wanted to dive under the water and fill the sponge up as he did it. He wanted to have fun and cool down – it was quite a warm morning.

As he ran back up the beach the nipper who went first attempted to grab the sponge out of his hands to squeeze it into the bucket of water, only to have jack turn to him and say back off, to which the nippers eyes opened wide and he took 2 steps back. Next was the kid who was at the back of the team when the game was being explained. He didn’t even realise it was his turn. The guys were yelling at him to go, go, go. He had no idea what to do. He casually picked up the sponge, headed to the water as he looked to see what the other teams were doing, wet the sponge, had a look around and then proceeded back up the beach towards another teams bucket, completely unaware he was going to the wrong teams bucket.

Honestly it was hilarious. This continued on for another round and similar behaviors taking place. Right before my eyes, here was an example of 6 year olds all demonstrating various degrees of behavior of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. I had a little chuckle to myself and thought wow….it starts so young. The way kids play on the beach or in the playground can really be a great indication as to how what they are exposed to early in their lives influences their choices and the way they behave.

I tried to work out which kids belonged to which parents but that was nearly impossible, goes to show, they too just like the sponges on the beach are little sponges so we better watch how we behave, they’re picking up more than we realise and probably want to know.