Stewarding our children’s potential

iStock_000003580930SmallI will never forget when Matey was twelve months old and I was sitting in a circle with him and a number of other mums and their sons the same age as Matey. All the boys, except Matey, were content to just sit still and play with the one toy car in front of them. Matey kept moving around and taking other cars and creating havoc. I can remember thinking, “I wish he was just like these other boys and would sit still”. Five years later we caught up with most of these mums and their sons and I will never forget my response. “Oh my God. I am so glad that Matey is such an energetic boy who is full of life. He won’t just sit there and let the world pass him by.”

I realise that there are differences between boys and girls and that can account for some attributes and characteristics but I have a very energetic boy, full of life, inquisitive, always asking “Why is…?” He is a natural explorer and adventurer, more a masculine trait than a feminine one and loves experimenting, particularly with science stuff. He is also a very passionate boy.

 So, how are we stewarding Matey’s giftings as an 8 year old boy.

1. Accept him for who he is. He is not his sister. His sister is very organised, Miss socialite, grasps concepts and abstract learning quickly and, since the age of eighteen months, has known what she wants to do with her life for a career. Matey is not her. Matey is also a normal boy who loves getting dirty, exploring and building things.

2. Identify his giftings and strengths. Along with everything else I have already listed, he is actually the very caring one. He picks up on the atmosphere and senses where people are at, especially if they are hurting. When our neighbour was dying of cancer, whenever Matey saw the wife, he would always ask how Bill was. He is very generous and loves giving. He has a strong prophetic gifting as well.

3. Expand the parameters of each gifting and how they can be used. An inquisitive mind can be used not just for science but in so many other ways and modalities. An explorer is useful for more than geographical exploring.

4. Create opportunities for your child to soar and investigate and find out more about themself. At the moment, I am getting thoroughly sick of reading war stories to Matey. We seem to be majoring on Fighter Pilots and the suspense just gets to me a bit. Matey is loving it and this last month has wanted to join the armed forces. (He changes his mind all the time, typical for this age). Thus, we have introduced him to a young guy we know who is doing his air force training.

When Matey was wanting to be a police officer, we read and investigated a lot about that. At the time, we were also fortunate to be invited to a previous employee’s police graduation and Matey was thrilled to watch all this and be involved at a distance. With him being so keen on doing scientific experiments every day, we have set up some simple experiments he can do himself where he is not harming the house or taking the stain off the boards of the back deck or burning the plastic off … We have also taken him to CSIRO and the Stem Cell Research Laboratory in the Science Department at Monash University. He also received a microscope for his last birthday. All things to help foster this side of his nature. When garbage collection was a huge interest for a future career, we toured the recycling plant.

5. Introduce role models to your children. We love having a variety of role models and mentors for our children. They are never too young for this. Think outside the square and use historical role models as well. Matey is an auditory learner so we use a lot of audio tapes of scientists and explorers and people of history and their stories to inspire Matey. We also are huge fans of books so we read a lot and stories can be so impacting. We surround our children with books of teenagers who have achieved outstanding things. When you read so many stories of kids and teenagers doing incredible things, you then begin to realise that that can be normal and you start to think that way as well.

6. Expand your world. I love listening to the TED teen talks (google TED teen talks). Matey and I listened to one tonight by Jack Andraka. When he was 13 years old, his uncle died of pancreatic cancer. He had no idea what it was, but he found out that the test for detecting it cost ~$800 and is only ~5% accurate. Thus, he set out on a mission to develop an early detection test that was cheap ($3), accurate (100%), and could detect it early. This was achieved by the time he turned 16 years old. What an inspiration. I would love to know how his parents stewarded his giftings to help him achieve, or even think of this concept and that he could possible do this. Another teenager on a TED talk, Taylor Wilson built a nuclear fusion reactor in his parents garage. This is possible parents with helping your teenager to soar and develop their giftings.

How are you stewarding your child’s potential?  Please feel free to email me and let me know. I would love to hear.