Some days I feel like the depth of the conversations I have with my kids are about an inch deep. Do you have any homework? Did you eat your lunch? Did you take a bath? How many times are we intentional about the words we speak to our kids? Do we speak words that encourage them or motivate them? What got me thinking about this was something that happened just the other day.
I was cleaning out a storage closet and found a little bunch of papers from third grade. I found my report card and it totally surprised me! My teacher wrote about how interested I was in the authors that came to our school that year, and how it really lit a fire under me. (I wrote a masterpiece about “The Popcorn Popper.” I’m sure you’ve heard of it? right? ha!) Sadly, I didn’t pick up on it and didn’t begin focusing on writing until much later.
Another example of this, my husband loves the outdoors. When he was young, he was always outside playing, making dirt bike trails, exploring and hiking with his dog. He didn’t realize how much he was lacking spending time outdoors when we were newly married and he was young in his profession. He would spend all of his time in the office. A few years ago, he began mountain biking with a few of his friends. It was then he realized, I love the outdoors! Even a walk in the woods is refreshing for his mind. He’s not going to do it for his job, but it is something that gives him relief and joy during times of high stress.
Give your kids a gift of self-awareness at a young age by helping them identify those things that give them joy and happiness. We generally don’t change that much as we get older!
BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT TALKING ABOUT YOUR KIDS’ FUTURE:
- Make it short and sweet. When we talk to our kids, we have learned the hard way that BREVITY is important. Have a great conversation but don’t belabor it, their attention spans can’t handle it. You don’t want them to grow up “hating” these big talks.
- Tell them they are special and uniquely made by God. No one is created with their mix of interests, talents and giftings.
- Ask them what they think their talents/gifts/interests are & LISTEN. (ALERT!! Don’t pipe in with your ideas, yet!) Just listen. Try to get them to think of two or three things.
- If they need help thinking of something, think about how they spend their time and ask them, do you think ____ is something you enjoy? Don’t impose your desires on them. What they do is what they like to do and what they should do!
- Share the possibilities. It’s finally your turn! Most kids don’t know the wide variety of professions open to them. (That’s why they all want to be firemen or baseball players! 🙂 Try to think of some ideas of professions where they can use one or two of their talents. If you can find two things that overlap, that’s best! Try to think outside the box. (i.e. if your kid likes sports + math, tell them about jobs that utilize both of those things. They will be blown away. I’m sure they don’t know there are guys that make a living doing stats, memorizing stats for players, or work in the office as an accountant for a baseball team. That is just the tip of the iceberg and what I came up with off the top of my head. I’m sure you could find/think of even better ideas than these!)
- Try to give your child opportunities to grow or participate in their given interests. (p.s. this doesn’t mean you have to send your child to a $300 a week, summer camp!) The best opportunity is experience using their gift! i.e., My daughter loves pubic speaking. (How weird is that!? But, she is super poised, loves words and vocabulary and loves performance. What a dynamite combo!) By the way, she is only 9 years old. She participates in a speech club at her school that’s complementary. She was just asked by her principal to speak at the school’s annual business meeting. Approximately 150 people will be in attendance. What an awesome opportunity for her! And it didn’t cost us a thing. But, it did take us being aware of what her interests are and fostering them along the way.
- What if one of my kids don’t think they have any special talents? I know what they mean! They look around at their friends and see someone better than them at almost everything. That’s how it always will be! I would encourage them not to compare themselves, but just see what they have an interest in. For example, not only child prodigies are musicians. There are many different levels of talents and many different ways to use a musical gift. (You can be a music teacher, sound person, song writer, etc, etc…in any given field, there are a million outlets for that interest and talent.)
As a side note, an interest may never become how they make a living, but if it is a joy and allows release from tension, it’s important, too! It’s about living a life that is full of joy, fulfillment and satisfaction.
Talking to your kids about their futures helps them understand their talents, interests and gifts. These are all clues into who they will become. No matter what kind of job they end up in, we want them to understand that everything we do is for the glory of God. I hope you will take time to have an intentional talk about your kids’ futures. Speak life to them today!
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