Wouldn’t you like for your children to work a job they love when they grow up? Don’t you want them to be happy every morning because they are dedicating their time to doing what they feel they have been created to be doing? Loving what you do is a great feeling, and we can teach our children from a young age how to achieve it by helping them recognize their strengths and using them.
However, sometimes we don’t take our children’s talents and abilities seriously. We even discourage them from continuing, because we think they could use their time focusing on something that will “benefit” them in the future. We may discourage them from discovering what they love and what they are good at when we invite them to try to fit to what society has labeled as “good” traits to have a “good” job.
When I finished high school and I was trying to figure out what to study, I remember not knowing my strengths. When it was time to make a career decision, I chose to become an international economist. I don’t regret it, since I have learned a lot of interesting things and the education I have received has opened several doors, but I really dislike math. I really, really, really don’t like numbers, and I had to dedicate a lot of time to them. I worked very hard to understand them and to make good grades, and I did, but it was difficult for me. Why didn’t I choose another field? One in which I could still work hard, but at least enjoy it? Honestly, I didn’t know myself and I wanted to please my parents. This was a great lesson. Now I am the first one to support my children’s “out of the ordinary” career paths. My daughter wants to be an actress, singer, and entrepreneur; my son’s dream is to be a professional tennis player. I see their talent and the hard work they put into their passion. I am their biggest fan, doing what is in my hands as a mom and a guide so they can achieve their dream using their strengths. Will they be rich and famous? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter, as long as they are enjoying their work. Of course they need to be realistic and have clear ideas on how to make a living, but I want them to be creative and find ways to achieve it by using the many talents they have been given.
As parents we can know our children better than anyone and we can be the first ones to help them discover their strengths. Here are some ideas on what we can do as parents to help our children use their strengths:
- Listen to your children. Hear the excitement as they discuss certain topics or share the things they have done.
- Record special moments in which you notice their strengths at work, even at a very young age. They will love to see it later and it may help them make decisions in the future.
- Don’t shoot down their ideas, no matter how difficult it may seem to achieve them. Listen and support. Mention that it may not be easy.
- Let them be children. Many times our mature “parent mind” stops our children from letting their imagination fly.
- Encourage creative thinking, study sessions, sport activities, involvement in the arts… expose your children to different things from an early age so they can discover their talents
Enjoy your children’s talents, be a part of their world, encourage them, enjoy the journey with them. Whether we realize it or not, children, no matter their age, want to make their parents proud, so be by their side as they travel through life developing their talents and enjoying who they are and sharing what they have been given.