I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul.
From Kristin: #ThreeWordWednesday is simple, really. I know we're all busy with life and kids and jobs and parents and friends and church and whatever else it is that occupies our time. Some weeks I'm not sure what my post will be about, but knowing people will show up here on Wednesdays is good motivation to write something. #ThreeWordWednesday is a chance to pause and hear God. Sum up what you're hearing in three words. Those three words are enough. But stories are good too.
Encouraging Their Gifts
One of my desires in raising our children is to help them discover the talents and gifts that God has given them and give them opportunities to grow those gifts. I want them to flourish in these areas and be able to use them to serve the Lord!
The hardest part of this, at least to me, is not projecting my own preferences and biases on to their interests. Micah and I are not into sports. He has never had any interest and while I played various sports all through childhood and adolescence, I don't really care about sports now. And even back then I just like playing, I didn't really care about watching or following sports. But just because we have no interest in sports doesn't mean our children won't at some point.
Micah and I love music (although we have no musical talent) and would really like the kids to learn an instrument but if that isn't what God has gifted them with or an interest they have then it would be a fruitless endeavor.
We are starting to notice areas that our kids are drawn to already. One of our kids seems to gravitate towards all things creative. Coloring, painting, paper crafts, etc., all captivate this child's interest. Another has a way with words and stories. Another is fascinated by technology and can't seem to get enough of any type of electronic gadget. We are trying to let our kids explore these different areas by offering them opportunities to try these activities at home but also offer chances to take extra classes through the park and school districts. So far they haven't taken us up on the offer but we will do our best to make those things happen when or if they want.
So what can you do to help discover and foster the natural gifts and talents God has given your children?
1. Expose them to as much as you can!
You will never be able to expose them to everything and I certainly don't encourage spending every last penny on classes and activities, but do what you can to offer new experiences. Many cities have free opportunities to try activities like gymnastics on open gym nights or family sports nights. Our city parks offer free art classes once a month in the summer. Plus we try and learn at home with videos on YouTube (I plan on trying some dance with Mercedes this way before paying for classes!) and simply playing together.
2. Watch for areas they show interest
There are some things we think the kids will really enjoy and when we've tried it they have no desire to continue learning or trying and others that make a spark ignite. We are doing our best to watch for those moments so we can offer that child similar opportunities in the future.
3. Encourage growth
Once those sparks begin do what you can to keep the growth happening and passion burning. If your budget allows get your child in a class or group to build more skills. Scour the internet (Pinterest makes browsing easy) for ideas in that skill area for you and your child to do at home. And praise their effort!
4. Keep your biases out of it!
I have a friend whose son has a huge passion for drumming. This kid picked up drum sticks at a young age and now in high school is simply fantastic. He plays in the worship band at our church on occasion and watching him use his gifts to serve the Lord makes my mama heart soar! But the idea of listening to the drumming during the learning stages makes me hesitant to "allow" that as a talent - as if I have a choice what my kids are good at! Yes, their will be some grating moments that come as our children explore their worlds - dripped paint, LEGO spilled all over the floor, paper scraps, loud (and possibly obnoxious) music - but if we stifle those gifts then how are we following God's word to train a child up as he should go?
I can't wait to see how God continues to show us the natural abilities and giftings He has given our children. I pray that we would notice the sparks as they happen and do what we can to foster those sparks. I want those little sparks to turn into burning passions that they will use to serve Him and follow His path for their lives.
Have you noticed your own children's natural gifts or abilities? When did you discover your own gifts that God has given you? How do you encourage growth of your own gifts or your children's gifts?