The 9 Enneagram Personality Types as Children’s Books Series: Type 9 as The Story of Ferdinand

Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker= The Story of Ferdinand

“The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent” as defined by the Enneagram Institute

This post is bittersweet because I have so enjoyed brainstorming and writing this series, but I have also been looking so forward to spotlighting the NINE personality type for two reasons. The NINE holds a special place in my heart because my husband is a 9, and in fact my ma-in-law introduced me to the Enneagram when he and I were first dating, ten years ago! She was very excited to determine that I was a TWO, knowing he was a NINE because she felt it was an auspicious match, as her parents had been a 2 & 9! Secondly, as is evident by this post I wrote 7 years ago, The Story of Ferdinand is my all-time favorite children’s book. The Story of Ferdinand, story by Munro Leaf & illustrations by Robert Lawson, has long been my yardstick by which all other children’s books are measured. In its simultaneous simplicity and whimsy, it brings to life a story of contentment, pacifism, and quiet confidence and delivers a message of self love and the power of knowing yourself.

Our hero, Ferdinand, is a 9 right from the first page. He is gentle, agreeable, and utterly content with his life and his favorite passive pass time is sitting under his favorite tree and smelling the flowers. Doing so fulfills the basic 9 desire to have inner stability, “peace of mind.” In the story, his mother worries that he is not like other young bulls, who play fight and butt heads, aka conflict. But being a supportive parent she understands his key 9 motivations to want to create a harmonious environment, avoid conflict, to preserve things as they are, and to resist whatever would upset or disturb him.

“Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturbing aspects of life and to seek some degree of peace and comfort by “numbing out.” They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment, or in more gross denial. More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking to find simple and painless solutions to their problems.” -the Enneagram Institute

Even as he grows older, and much bigger, Ferdinand is able to tune out the acrimony and action in his life. His peaceful and contented NINE energy is cushioned by his special spot, and his inner Zen is protected by his understanding mother. When scouts from Madrid arrive, looking for potential participants for bullfighting, the other bulls try to garner attention. Ferdinand knows his self-effacing 9 tendencies count him out. But then, an unfortunate bee sting on his bottom, throws his life entirely off course! Because he bucks and stomps aggressively in reaction, he is taken to the bullfights in Madrid when scouts mistake him for a fierce contender. Being taken away from his carefully cultivated environment plays into his basic 9 fear of loss and separation, and we can see his unease and depression in the pages as he is carted off to his fate.

“We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves—a strong sense of their own identity.” -the Enneagram Institute

Once in Madrid, he focuses on the smell of the flowers in the ladies’ hair, a link to familiarity. Now, if Ferdinand were at an average level, he would accommodate and participate in the pageantry and combat of the bullfight. He would go along with everyone else, ignoring his own desires in the process. But Ferdinand is a next-level 9, as in: “Level 1 (At Their Best): Become self-possessed, feeling autonomous and fulfilled: have great equanimity and contentment because they are present to themselves. Paradoxically, at one with self, and thus able to form more profound relationships. Intensely alive, fully connected to self and others,” so says the Enneagram Institute.

Ferdinand is a grounded example of a healthy 9 who is fully self-aware and content. He does not defer to others at the expense of his own happiness- a habit of average level NINEs. Ultimately his stubbornness pays off and he is returned to his home in the hills of Spain, and left to sit under his cork tree in perpetuity, and happiness. His easy-going nature is what makes him so appealing, and his knowledge of himself is a great message to parents and kiddos that we should all listen to our inner voice, even when it tells us to stay still.

For more information on the Peacemaker y’all head on over to the Enneagram Institute. Enjoy The Story of Ferdinand and order this peaceful powerhouse online(they ship), pick up curbside, or grab one in(masked) person from Book People!

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