Talent is that certain something that every one of us is born with. It’s a little different for each, because we are totally unique as individuals.
Our kids are talented. They have natural ability and aptitude that they were born to share. It’s our job to help them in the pursuit of their extraordinary lives.
A really big part of what we can do with our kids to get them headed in the right direction is to observe those things that they are gravitating toward, and those things which they seem to have a “knack” for. Observing it from an objective point of view can be difficult, as we usually tend to try and push them in a particular direction. “I want little Jimmy to be a football player!” Resist that temptation. You’ll be so happy you did.
Once you have figured out the thing or things that your child seems to do with minimal effort and likely have an absolute blast doing, you are now crucial to their development because of your ability to encourage.
By definition, encouragement means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. You literally become the “wind beneath their wings”.
Whatever it is your child was born to do, they will do it, if they are encouraged by you and allowed to pursue their interests with that wonderful innate precision.
Kids don’t have the same mental distractions we do. Kids don’t operate in a world that has any limitations, unless of course we start establishing that for them. Their minds are free and pure, and they will follow their hearts as naturally as the swallows make their way back to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California every March 19th.
They only have to be free to do so.
So be there. Be a fan. Be a cheerleader. Be a coach. Be a parent! This is the part of the gig as a mom or dad that we should put all of our energy into. Raising a child is not only about conditioning them to understand the meaning of the word “No”, it is also about being their most supportive force. Yes, you are entrusted with teaching them right from wrong, and establishing their moral codes. But don’t forget how important and influential it can be for them to know that you believe in them.
As adults we have this wonderfully clear perspective of our own childhood (or so we think). We can look back and imagine all of the things we achieved as kids, the things we wished we should have done, the things we would have tried harder at if we had only known how important it was going to be later, etc. Then often, unfortunately, we start to project our own lives onto our children. We can shape and mold them any way we want, and our natural tendency I think is to start trying to live somewhat vicariously through them. Again, avoid this temptation. The life that you learned with had a great purpose, and that purpose was not to try to relive it 20-something years later. It was to become wise enough to see that your children could experience life to the absolute fullest and achieve their total potential!
We also have to be careful when considering what their potential truly is. Often it is what we think of when we are measuring a child based on what we think they are capable of. “You just have so much potential…why can’t you get this right?” The truth is that no one knows exactly what any other person is capable of. We have a perception of what we think they can accomplish, but we are not privy to the inner-workings of their spirit. This is why it is so important not to force them to do things that aren’t right for them. They will begin to achieve all that they are capable of, as long as they are continuing to pursue life based on their natural gifts. I guarantee it.
Now, once the talent has been realized, it then needs to be worked on. And as it develops, and continues to pursue perfection, it will be amazing. It will lead to success in the most gratifying manner and happiness in the most peaceful way.
It can influence, motivate, entertain, inspire, and of course, fulfill.
It is the true gift to the world that each individual was born to give.
But it does require a steady focus and an unwavering commitment. And, initially, this is something, as parents, that we need to help with. We need to teach our kids how important it is to follow their hearts, but also that it takes a desire to succeed, and a persistence of spirit that says, “I will not ever quit. Not until I achieve my dream, and even then, not ever!”
I wrote about talent working hard in another post (here), but I will talk more specifically about the hard work of children pursuing their dreams with the kind of passion and faith that only a child has, in the purest form. And we’ll do that…next post…