Monday, May 9, 2011

Kid's Giftedness

Kids are gifted.

Kids are more gifted in fact, than most adults I believe. They haven't learned what's impossible, therefore they tend try to reach much further than they could possibly reach. I believe this is one reason why kids grow and learn things so much faster than adults do. When you reach beyond your ability you become able to more and do it more quickly. It is when you take the safe route where you cannot fail that you become relatively stagnant in your growth.

What kids usually don't know, however, is the areas where they are stronger and weaker in. Have you noticed that children often practice things they are good at, even at an extremely young age? Conversely, they tend to avoid things they are not good at in order to do what they enjoy (often what they excel at in the first place). Have you also noticed that the people that have had the greatest impact on the world focused on their areas of strength? Look at Bill Gates or Da Vinci or Michelangelo or Jaque Cousteau or Yo Yo Ma. They didn't waste monumental amounts of energy trying to equalize areas where they did not have ability. On the flip side, education today teaches that kids all have to be similarly efficient in every area, regardless of if they are naturally talented or not in that area. We have been fed this idea that instead of being wildly masterful in one or two areas, we must be mediocre in 9 or 10 areas. This is a great travesty that threatens not only success in the secular world, but in our churches as well.

Is your child a great encourager or people? Discover a way for them to practice that more and more so they become better and better at it. Are they a great speaker? Look for opportunities for them to speak. Do the same for them if they are good at writing, painting, singing, or anything else. There is always opportunity for a Christian to use their gifts to show Christ to the world around them. Instead of saying "My child has a hard time memorizing Scripture so I'm going to make them do it 5 hours a day (an exaggeration, I know)," say "My child is gifted in X. I will help them find a way to use their gift to glorify God and bring people to Him."

Do our children need to memorize Scripture? Yes, I believe it is important. But if they are anything like me that is not something that will come very quickly, and we need to realize that is OK. Emphasize the importance of doing that as they can while encouraging them to excel in the areas that God has gifted them in. It will do wonders not only for their self-esteem, but for their service to the Lord as well.

This is the job of parents. It is not taking control of their life and forcing them into a mold that you see as the only "appropriate" way. It is taking an honest assessment of what your child is (and is not) capable of and providing opportunities for them to move their service to God to the next level. When we take the time to guide them, to show them how to use their giftedness and show them how to lead through it, we will end up with a strong, diverse body that has more ways and abilities to help people than we have ever seen before.

So get out there! Look at your child's gifts and what they love, and guide them forward in it! You have nothing to lose, and your child has everything to gain.

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