5 Keys to Developing Your Child’s Talents, Abilities, and Interests
“Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6 (Amplified Bible)
1. Make sure your children’s interests are theirs, not yours. Their drive to be separate will overshadow their drive to succeed, and they may quit something that they are good at just to get separate from you.
2. Support your children in what they do choose. Encourage the process – don’t get too caught up in results. Whether they win is not as important as what they are learning along the way.
3. Require your children to stick it out, especially if you’re paying for it. Sometimes, if a child has a history of being responsible, it’s okay for him to quit something new if he discovers he really doesn’t like it after trying it for a while. I was like that with swimming. I hated it, so I quit. But I had a history of finishing other seasons of sports and not dropping out. When I took piano, it was a different story. I had started it, and I hated it. But my parents made me finish because to run from it would have been avoiding the growth task of finishing something I had committed to. I had agreed to a year, and they made me finish. I hated it, but I’m glad they forced me to stick it out. It helps me write books now when the going gets tough! Don’t ask me to play piano – I am horrible at it. But I did learn something in the process.
4. Expose your children to a lot of choices, and to an extent, help in creating opportunities if you can. We don’t believe in paying for everything for a teen. But sometimes, for a teen who is paying his part, you might help out just to get him the exposure along the way.
5. Share activities and skills with your children. This gets them involved in watching how you handle hobbies and fun as well as new skills. Learn to ski together or roller blade or bicycle. It is fun and a good bonding experience as well as a chance to model the process.
If you do all of the above, then you will have a new person at the end of the process. You will have a friend for life – one of whom you can be proud, and whom you can watch unfold as God directs his steps into the future.
What did you do?
You taught your children that all the things you had been teaching them were one day for them to manage. You taught them that your job as guardian and manager was just temporary, and that what you were doing was just showing them how to do what they would have to do later: guard and manage themselves. And if they can now do that, you have done well. As the song says, “Give them roots, and give them wings.” You have given them what they need to go out into the world on their own: character.
(Excerpted from “Raising Great Kids” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend)
Especially For Dads –
Let me share with you why I have such a sense of urgency about being a great dad. It arises directly from a fact that absolutely astounded me: if you spend one hour per week in one-on-one time with a child, the total amount of time you will have with that child by their eighteenth birthday is 39 days.
Let that one sink in – you have 39 days to spend with your child before they leave for college or work. And that is the case IF you are way above average for dads spending one-on-one time with their child. So you MUST START NOW to be a great dad and to experience the joy of fathering.
And you also must ENDURE in your quest to be a great dad. It has been said that the difference between success and failure is that ability to hang in there five minutes longer. Well, there will be lots of times with a child that we’ll be called upon to hang in there five minutes longer.
You don’t sprint to become a great dad; you’re running a marathon. Being a great dad requires commitment up front, patience during the race, and endurance to see your way to the finish line. As in a marathon, every finisher is a winner!
Wishing you the very best, Dr. Bob Hamrin – President, Great Dads (www.greatdads.org)