How can we find those special gifts and talents in our children? What approach will bring out the very best in them? Think about your own childhood. Did you have a particular teacher who knew just how to get the best work from you? How did he/she do it? Did you have a parent, family member or friend who instilled the kind of confidence and belief in yourself that you surpassed your wildest dreams?
We are created with the 'ingredients' to do the most amazing things, yet most of us never really reach our true potential. We need to help our kids discover the skills and talents where they really excel. How do we do that?
- From the time they are toddlers we can observe what they seem to be most interested in, or show aptitude in doing and encourage that.
- When they start school we observe where they shine. We get them into activities that will enhance their talents even further.
- We make sure that their lives are balanced between their favorite activities, their school work and home responsibilities.
- We need to give each child the same opportunities.
- Kids want role models from within the family. They want heroes.
- Kids need to see us working towards self-fulfillment so they might get caught up in pursuing the same. It is never too late to follow your dreams.
- We all respond to encouragement and recognition. Kids, especially, need praise for effort NOT just for success.
- It is vital not to push our kids into activities they are not suited to. If it isn't working for them, try something else. We are helping them find their potential, not living our own unfulfilled dreams through them.
- We shouldn't fall into the trap of buying them 'every instrument in the orchestra' when they are just not into music. Just one activity at a time is what they need. They can't become excellent in any one thing if they have too many irons in the fire.
- We must not be unrealistic. Our expectations for our children need to be high, but not crushing. There is nothing worse than never feeling good enough. They need to just do THEIR best, not be THE best.
By Sally Burgess