Your Children, Their Strengths

ks16347_home_page_2.jpgThe poet and philosopher Khalil Gibran wrote in his poem entitled “On Children”:

“Your children are not your children.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.”

Knowing your own strengths will help your children understand theirs. Parents sometimes think they can tell their children what their strengths are, but they can’t. A strength is an activity that energizes you. Only the person doing the activity will know whether or not it is energizing to them.
I once knew a man who was a fly fishing guide. The last I heard he had a child whom he named River. “He’s going to be a great fisherman.” I cringe at this expectation. What if the boy is not energized by fishing? Often parents impose their likes and strengths onto children and children, desperately wanting to please parents (there is nothing children dislike more than disappointing their parents) take on activities that they may not really be interested in. When a child has a talent at something he is not interested in, sometimes he will feel guilty if he wants to discontinue the activity. In general, you can help kids discover their strengths by listening to their likes and dislikes. You can notice what they are drawn to and take note of those things. Ask them questions and try to avoid laying too many of your own expectations on them. IN the end, they are THEIR strengths they are developing.

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