It was decision time. Our second child needed to choose a college. It had been an exhausting process. I could feel myself slipping back into thinking, “If only.” If only we had filled out more scholarship applications. If only we had applied to more colleges! “Enough”, my brain finally told me. We are all searching for THE way to raise our kids so that they will have the best chance at life. It was several months after this critical time in out lives that I had a light bulb moment. There is no ONE way. Do you want to know why YOUR child will succeed? Because of that great mix of you as the parent and them as the child!
When you are sharing with your child your interests and encouraging their gifts in return, something amazing happens! It opens up a path to them. One that is unique to them. Pack their backpack with a couple of secret supplies I’m going to share, and you are setting them on the road to a productive life.
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Why Your Child Will Succeed
I love ideas. And when given more good ideas I will try to do them, just adding them on top of the other ways of doing things. It is exhausting. But as parents, we all tend to do that. We hear of the latest study or the most recent trend for child rearing and launching success and we want to incorporate it. We certainly want our child to have every advantage. And in this world of social media, it feels even more heightened as we learn great ideas faster and faster.
So which way is the right way?
Find the Intersections
Think of your interests plus your child’s gifting as spokes in a wheel. When we marry these together we have a strong wheel that will propel a child forward.
So what is it that you just naturally do because you love? What are you passionate about and are always striving to do better?
I love to read. For most of my kid’s lives they have gone to the library at least once a week with me. I know…not some amazing talent. Or is it? It is unique to me. Not everyone gets to the library as much as we do. And it certainly has had a positive affect on my kids. So while going to the library routinely is not some spectacular gift, it is a gift!
So what about you?
What big and small talents do you have?
What do you naturally enjoy doing? It may be a big talent that others have noticed and asked you about. Or it may be a more secret talent (like my crazy library skills) that you may have assumed everyone is doing. Are you great with young children? Do you have an eye for color and style? Love studying different cultures? This may be why your child will succeed!
As I mentioned, I love ideas or learning a new way of doing something. So I often observe how different families raise their children.
One family I know is phenomenal at entrepreneurship. Their kids were always starting up new home based businesses. Some took off while other ideas lasted for just a short time. But the parents created a home where creative ideas and thinking outside the box was natural. They weren’t waiting til their kids turned 16 to get a job at the local fast food restaurant. Life was happening now!
Another family we are friends with are gifted in hospitality. My friend is constantly opening her home. She and her husband have cultivated a “family” of friends allowing their child to become strong in interacting with others.
What are Your Child’s Gifts?
Now, let’s review how our child is gifted. Each child is so unique in what they find interesting. So it can be great fun to explore how our child is naturally talented.
Is your child very coordinated and great with sports? Do they have a way with words and love to create stories? Does your child have a flair for style and is forever trying to coordinate everyone in the house?
Some gifts jump out at you. But, if you are not certain about how your child’s likes and skills could actually play out as a future life mission or career, give them opportunities to explore. They can read books on their favorite topics, take a class, go to a summer camp involving their interests, volunteer at church or in the community, or get a part-time job. For more ideas read here 6 Simple Ways to Encourage Teens to Explore Their Interests.
Keep Pursuing Your Interests and Spending Time Together
In order for a parent’s passions and interests to strengthen a child’s talents we need to have time together, and we as their parents need to continue to grow.
Try to find a balance that allows you to pursue those hobbies, interests and jobs that fulfill you while still committing to your family priorities. Find more here on balancing your passions and priorities. When we have lots of children at home, our interests may take up a smaller area in our life, but we don’t want to ever stop growing.
By pursuing our passions we are more excited about life and naturally share our enthusiasm and knowledge with our children. Our children in turn reap the benefits of our natural talents.
It is also vital to carve out family time where we have opportunities to teach our children and to recognize their gifts. If we are so busy taking our children from one activity to the next or we provide endless opportunities for only friend time, kids miss out. When life becomes only about themselves, teens may develop their talents, but they will be lacking depth of character that comes from having mentors.
Learn more about making choices regarding your teen’s friend time here.
When You and Your Child Have Different Interests
Look for those intersections where your gifting will strengthen their talents.
Country Boy is so hard-working. He is very focused when he is working and will see the job through to the end. As a result, all our kids are hard-working and receive compliments for how well they perform on a job. So even though College Boy loves details, music and audio, he has been blessed to learn how to work hard. This compliments his talents.
I love learning about different jobs. When I ask people what they do for a living or their hobbies, I truly want to know. For our homeschool group, I created a Career and College Fair where I bring in local professionals to share with our teens all the behind scenes look at their careers. It is so much fun to see our teens connect with a possible job interest. My passion for career exploration propelled me to connect College Boy with a volunteer job where he learned audio and to bring into his path numerous people to talk with about tech and music stuff.
So even if your child has gifts that you don’t share, you can have a positive impact on moving them forward just by continuing to pursue the hobbies and jobs you are passionate about! And this is why your child will succeed!
Focus on the Positive Intersections and Release the Flaws
As I mentioned, launching your teen after high school can be stressful. For me, I had lots of doubts. One being about preparing College Boy for the SAT/ACT test. While I always had good grades in school and enjoyed classroom learning, I struggled on big tests that required logic skills. Unfortunately, I passed on this trait to College Boy.
But with his dad’s hard-working skills and my get out there and explore possibilities and love of classroom learning, College Boy completed his Associates at the same time he completed high school. This shaved off a whole year of his current Bachelor’s degree requirement, saving him thousands of dollars.
Sometimes, we can get tunnel vision. We see one path. Or we see a friend’s teen taking a path that seems amazing. But there are so many ways to launch our teen and help them succeed in cultivating a meaningful life!
So release the flaws and get excited about all the ways that you and your teen make a great team! And this is why your child will succeed!
Don’t Forget to Pack some Discipline & Curiosity
While you are raising your child there are a couple of things that you need to instill in them to make their wheels stronger.
Discipline is pivotal. Your child is going to need discipline in order to work through tough times in life. Most jobs and relationships worth keeping require discipline to turn them from good to great!
Too often I see teens that have become comfortable with their parents clearing the path for them. The teens develop this belief that life owes them. Parents, we can’t hand everything (money, cell phone, unlimited free time, no responsibilities) to our teens and expect that they will launch successfully into life even if they have talent.
Sooner or later a teen will blow even the best opportunity if they lack the discipline required to keep it.
Also plant within your child a healthy dose of curiosity! If we remain curious in life we will typically be teachable and excited to learn something new. Curiosity keeps us flexible to the twists and turns in life!
Well, I hope you have had fun learning about why your child will succeed! And I can’t wait to hear about your crazy skill in the comments below – ordinary or extraordinary!