Lets be clear right up front - Im no expert, simply a mom who survived raising 2 grown children. (Insert big smile here - 1/2 because we all survived and 1/2 because there is no expert parent who has it all figured out - it is a life long process - so if you're just starting that process ... WELCOME and prayers for you along this amazing and challenging journey.)
Birthing and parenting, I must say, is one of the most rewarding and challenging things a woman will do. I like to think of us women as super hero's.
Moms - wouldn't you agree - we are all things to all people at all times - or so it seems. Im imagining a cape flowing from my shoulders just now with badges I've earned over the years, like a girl scout proudly displaying her decorated uniform - proud of every badge earned. Let your cape fly my friend - you deserve it.
So how do we look for and nurture our children's strenghts? Since your child was born with natural talents - you will start to see them emerge at a young age and over time they will develop into strengths - things they naturally excel at without much effort.
What to look for? Simple things like what are they drawn to? Books or outdoor play? Prefer groups or playing alone? Shy or outgoing? Excel in one subject in school? Struggle in another? Excel in one sport or activity or would rather be tinker with items trying to figure them out? There are so many things we can pick up on if we simply look at the natural behavior, likes and dislikes of our children.
As an adult it's easy to look back over your childhood and see how a love, passion or natural talent was either developed or smothered, and gulp - sometimes mom and dad may have been the guilty ones of unintentionally squashing it, or sometimes it was a teacher or respected authority figure making a comment unknowingly that had the potential to impact a future.
The quicker we can encourage and foster dreams that our children have inside them, instead of trying to make them conform to something we think they should be, the better for them and us.
I have a friend who was very competitive and amazing in sports and very smart academically - yet her Mom always told her (unknowingly that it was bothering her) "boys don't like girls smarter than them - put down that book and help your mom in the kitchen" or "boys don't like girls who are stronger and more competitive than they are - you should play with dolls instead of spending so much time on the soccer field." Words can give life and can also bring death. They are influential. Choose wisely how you use them.
Be aware of the words you speak and make them uplifting and encouraging starting now, no matter what age your kiddos are. Use words like:
- I believe in you.
- You can do all things in Christ.
- Anything is possible for your life.
- You make me proud.
- You are special and can do anything you set your mind and heart to.
- You are loved. I love you.
Whether you are a mother, father, teacher, grandparent or an authoritative figure - be aware of the words you choose for yourself and those conveyed to your children who are looking to you for guidance and acceptance. Begin to be aware of your child's incredible gifts and begin to build upon them with your positive words.