Following the blogpost from Miss Fanny P on “Something Every Parent Needs to Read”, I thought it is appropriate to share my thoughts on the topic too, being aware that Singaporean parents are one of the most competitive.
Children are just like us. They compare themselves against others and face real doubts about their talents and gifts. We know from the Word of God that this is not wise:
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV)
Resisting the temptation to compare to others can be very hard for children, this is even more so when they have siblings.
God had made each of us special and unique, and this includes our children. The beauty of His plan is that He didn’t want a child to be just like his/her sister, or just like his/her brother. Each one of them has special and unique gifts that God has given to only him/her.
“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:13-14 NKJV)
I know of a personal friend C, who loves baking and music, which has led her to use those talents to minister to her family and friends and those in her church as well. One day I will ask Baby E, “What do you think your special gifts and talents are? What makes you different and unique?” She may not be able to think of anything, or she may start rattling off proudly, having a lot of ideas on how to use them for God’s glory! Regardless of what her responses will be, I need to be mindful that sometimes our children need that simple reminder that we love them just the way they are. I wouldn’t love Baby E any more if she was really good at mathematics, or any less if she is not academically or musically inclined. Yet, she will know that I love her because of, not in spite of, all her unique gifts and little quirks.
If we have a child who is struggling with discovering her special gifts and talents, or maybe is having a hard time being comfortable and confident in his own skin, here are a few things we can try doing to help encourage them to celebrate their unique God-given talents:
- Read a classic Bible hero story like the story of Noah, Joseph, or Esther. Talk about what these great men and women of the Bible possessed as their special talents, and how they used them to do great and mighty things.
- Find an activity that will help your child use his or her talents or even grow them. It could be a volunteer or ministry opportunity like visiting a local nursing home once a month and bringing them homemade goodies and cards. It could be playing a sport, or acting in a play. There are so many options when it comes to activities for children. Don’t be afraid to let them try a few things (as time and money allow) to find the one that’s perfect for them!
- Read a storybook or watch a children’s DVD that has an encouraging message like “I Will Trust God” from the Hermie & Friends series. This DVD has two powerful stories that will help children learn about embracing their uniqueness and trusting God even when it’s hard to be different.
- Find verses that will encourage them and lift them up, and print them out on cards that you can place on the wall in their room or somewhere they will read it often. Remind them daily that they are loved by God!
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7 NKJV)
Last but not least, pray for your children. Our children will struggle at times. Our prayers can get them through those scary and foggy journeys of childhood and onto a more confident and clear path to becoming the amazing person that God wants them to be!
Adapted from Faith Gateway.