Appreciating the Talents of Your Child
Last week school began for two of our kids. One is a sophomore in High School, the other, our little girl, is in the fourth grade. New year, new teacher. My wife and I get to learn the new teaching style that comes with each new grade.
As usual, parents get the homework on the first day. A stack of paperwork so thick you would think you were financing an car. They ask you for birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, and medical information. In the midst of all this mandatory form-filling was the teacher’s welcome letter. These are always filled with the normal ‘welcome back,’ ‘glad to have you in my class,’ and ‘let’s work together’ language every year. However, this one was a bit different.
The teacher was asking for information about our daughter. She handled it quite ingeniously. She titled the request “In a Million Words… or less.” She asked us to write about the things that made our child tick; talents, what they were good at, as well as what they struggle with.
Of course, as a parent, I am going to gush about my child. She has many talents that I dutifully informed her of. I also included a couple of things to which she struggles. I enjoyed really thinking about my little girl and the joy she has brought into our life. I’m sure many parents experienced the same emotional journey.
This experience got me thinking about this week’s blog. We usually focus on an aspect of reading or the importance of books in a child’s life. This week I want us to really look at the whole reason for the books and the reading… the child.
Appreciate the Good
As I stated, my daughter has talents. One of them is drawing. She has been an excellent drawer since she was little. The first time she showed me something she was six. I thought her brother had done it. She has many cups with characters on them. One of them had the Peanuts characters. She freehand copied each character off the cup. Very well, I might add. Since then she has gotten even better. I can’t wait for her to take an art class and hone that talent. It’ll be amazing.
So, what can your child do? Can he or she draw like my daughter, Audrey? Can they sing like Carrie Underwood? Can they run like Usain Bolt? Do they have an amazing sense of humor? Can they cook like Master Chef Junior chefs? The point is your child can do something. There is one area that when you see them do that, you are astonished. These things are talents. God has given each one of us something specific that we excel at.
I challenge you, when you find that one thing your child excels at, feed it. Encourage them to draw more, sing more, cook, run, laugh, or do whatever it is that their hand is good at.
Work with the Not So Good
Just as every child will have a talent, there will be one who struggles with whatever they do. You may be experiencing it now. No matter how hard your child tries, they just can’t get it. You want them to be involved, but each time they are less than successful. At least, not as successful as YOU want them to be. This is okay. Your child is not going to be good at everything. Even the successful ones struggle in other areas. This particular activity is not their talent. Move on to the next thing, and the next. It’s important that your child keeps trying. Eventually, they will discover the one thing that they can do well. Then you can watch them fly.
Also, not every struggle is academic. Some children have a hard life. Don’t forget that. Do not assume that every family is Ozzie and Harriet, Mike and Carol, or Cliff and Claire. Life is not a television show, and we need to consider that when we look at a child who is struggling as they move along. Encourage them to keep trying, and be there if they need picking up.
I was challenged when I received this assignment from Audrey’s teacher. I got to take a deep look into my daughter and rediscover the things that make her special. I hope other parents did the same with their kids.
It also helped me to realize that each child is going to be different. Each child had different talents, different styles, different joys, and different fears. It is in this community of school that our children learn these things about each other. It is our job as parents to help our children to see this too. Help them learn to appreciate someone who is different than them. And to accept them.
Nurture the talents your child has. Buy them a drawing set, ask them to sing more, run with them around the yard, or have them help cook dinner. Remember Thomas Kinkade, Shakira, Florence Griffith-Joyner, and Gordon Ramsay were all kids once. You may be raising the next big thing.
I live in a small town in South Central Texas with my wife Carolyn and our four children. We attend the local First Baptist Church where we have been serving for 8 years. I drive a truck in the transportation industry and I pursue my writing career in my spare time. I have a passion for writing, and I plan to use my voice to glorify God.
In addition to my freelance work, I have a series of Children’s books that will begin to be released starting in June of 2018. I also have written a novel that is currently being edited. I look forward to sharing it sometime in 2019.