Painting, numeric-awareness, encouraging, building or care taking, we often notice some of these gifts in our kids from a really young age. I remember vividly being 3 or 4 years old saying that the two things I wanted to be when I grew up were: a mom and a teacher. My mom says that I always loved talking, being in meetings with her and rallying up my dolls to pretend I was teaching them. I learned to read when I was 3 and my mom knew that education was going to be important to me. Fast forward 25 years and I am teaching preschool, with a master’s degree and I get to be the mom to the most precious toddler. The reason I shared this story, is because it really puts in perspective for me the importance of nurturing our children’s, gift, talents and abilities. As parents we have so much influence on our kids, and with our decisions, attitudes and responses we are either gently pushing them toward embracing the gifts that we see God has put in them or drifting them apart. We all know how important it is to support our children’s natural abilities and talents but, how do we start to intentionally nurture those God given gifts and talents that our kids already have? Keep reading.
How does your child play? What do they value most when they immerse in that imaginative play world? Do they pick watercolors and papers over musical instruments, or do they prefer more active play like building high towers and putting together puzzles? Also, notice if they prefer to play alone or with other kids. As you observe your child’s play with a non-judgmental, curious and open approach you will be able to start seeing patterns that may provide a road map for you to create the appropriate environments where your child can strengthen and grow the gifts and talents they have. This does not necessarily mean that if they really enjoy public speaking and they pretend that their little Lego people are giving speeches, they for sure will become the next president, but who knows they may become a spokesperson for a non-profit, a social activist or a pastor!
Stay grounded in the present
Without intention sometimes we try to live through our kids the dreams or goals we could not achieve when we were young. This can practically play out in signing them up for music choir when they are showing no interest in it, or for a specific sport that we used to play in high school. While traditions, and passing on passion to our kids is important, it is vital that we let go of our agenda and really allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in identifying, nurturing, growing and helping our children exercise the gifts they have been given. It’s such a fun process to discover the uniqueness of our child and to see how what they used to do when they were 2 or 3 years old becomes who they are by age 10. They are an individual person with a book in front of them full of blank pages to write on, where God is the author and as parents, we get to be the co-authors.
Trust the process
As parents and caregivers, we all want to protect our children from heartache and disappointment. And so, sometimes when we see that they are passionate about something, but they are not the best at it, or it seems like the gifts and talents that are unfolding today may lead to a career where there is a lot of sacrifice and instability we may try to change their mind. By encouraging your child in his exploration, they will feel confident in following their passion. Also, lets trust Jesus more than our fear. Let’s have the certainty that God has created our kids with gifts and talents to change this world for the best and we get to witness the power of them becoming more of themselves every day, exactly who God has created them to be.