13 May 2013

Discovering My Child's Strengths

I listened to an interesting sermon recently on raising children. I liked a particular suggestion the speaker gave on discovering our children's strengths.

Too often  parents impose their wants and expectations on their children, dictating their children's paths without regards for their children's talents and strengths. I mean, I've personally met quite a number of people who've gone to university to study a subject of their parent's choice, just for the sake of pleasing their parents. Upon graduation, they've come out and seeked out jobs in the area of their strengths or passion, totally unrelated to what they've studied. Some work, save up and head back to university to finally study what they've wanted to study all along.

As I parent  my young ones, I hope somehow, to avoid that trap. Part of parenting for me, is to discover my children's strengths and guide them to their best potential. Anyway, the little activity suggested by the speaker was as follows:

1) Create 3 columns on a paper. Ask your children to list down 30 things which they think they're good at in  column one.
2) In a second column, pick 15 items from the first, which they think they are excellent at.
3) In a third column, select 7 from the 2nd column, which they've been praised for. Meaning, someone's told them they're good at it.

So I did the exercise with my children. We didn't do it in columns, but used a highlighter to complete part 2.

My children have allowed me to put their list here, just for future reference. They didn't take the assignment too seriously, you'll see why... but I'll be doing it with them again perhaps in a year's time.

Here I've typed out what each child's written.  Child One (Yellow),  Child Two (Blue)...I'm sure you can guess, who's who.

In the end, Child One picked 7 Things which she's heard others praise her for. And based on what she chose, we concluded that her strengths lay with Hospitality, Children, Animals and Making Things. With that, we talked of people who might possibly have similar strengths, such as teachers, psychologists, vets, therapists, engineers, scientists and architects.

As for Child Two, with her talents in pouncing, ferocious looks and joking...I wondered how to summarize her. Well, she's still young...but we decided that for now, it'd be along the lines of creating dramas, sports or writing plots for storybooks.

It's always interesting to find out what your child thinks of herself. Through this exercise, I also found out some negative things they thought of themselves, for they'd listed in column one "I'm good at  (a bad thing)..."  I've chosen not to list negative traits here.This exercise gave me the opportunity to talk about these negative views of self. And if it had been my fault, then I've to rectify it.

Yeap...give it a go, discover your child. :)

 @poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013



Divoo said...

what a great exercise this is! you can be good at ferocious looks too, haha! cute! :)

marie said...

What a wonderful little exercise. I like that your daughter put 'looking for missing things', my little Lila is the one we always go to when we can't find things, and you know what? She always finds it!

I am going to do this with my kids. It's kind of like a gratitude exercise in that sometimes you don't realize all you have until you write it down.

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