Starting the Year Strong Part 2: Seeing the Strengths in our Kids
We have a natural caregiver in our family. It’s our job as Madeline’s parents to recognize and encourage the strength and passion she is showing. We have three cats in our home, and they are Madeline’s babies. She has joyfully taken full responsibility for their needs from feeding to brushing. Before bed each night I hear her sweet voice call “Charlie! Lillie! Jazzie!” The next sound is that of cat paws tapping along the floor as they hurry in for the night. Each of the cats has even learned how to open Maddie’s door so that they can take up residence on her bed. They are her kitties, and she is their nurturer.
Recently, Madeline had the opportunity to travel with me across the country. On the trip, she took great care to make sure I had something to drink and that my luggage and coat were put away carefully. Maddie even massaged my neck on the plane when she noticed I was stiff from the travel. She did this without being asked. It is in her nature to look out for others and take care of them. It is a part of who she is. Whether she finds herself with Dad, home with the cats, or in any other environment, Madeline will be the first to care for and include others. She is passionate about protecting and providing for any being in need. We now expect an absolute consistency in her behavior because we know what drives Madeline. She can also trust us to encourage her in this fantastic strength.
What is your child naturally drawn to? Invest there. In certain situations, we may see desire and energy applied to things we consider frivolous like skateboarding and video games. Remember the earlier blog story about a father frustrated with his son for drawing on the desk? Choosing to go along with our child’s natural momentum may seem counterintuitive, but it might give us clues into areas of talent we hadn’t thought about before. Invest your resources and attention into the areas where your child exhibits interest, where they get in the zone, and where they feel passionate and invigorated. Involving your child in the discovery of who they are is paramount.
As we begin the year, let’s reaffirm our commitment to see - honestly see - our kids for the uniquely gifted people they are. Let’s ask God to readjust our perspective from frustration back to a fascination with their ways and discover what makes them shine. Whether your child is a nurturer like my Madeline, or a problem solver, or an artist, or a communicator, or whatever their strength may be, your greatest privilege this year is to recognize and encourage that strength in this particular season of their life. Two thousand nineteen can be the best year yet with your kids, start the year seeing them for everything that makes them unique, and investing in them like never before!