Many people on distinct occasions have commented on how diverse the personalities of my children are. In August a comment came in from Heidi asking that I talk about my the kids’ different personalities and how I deal with it.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it,” has probably been shared at every bible based parenting conference that has ever been attended. I believe this verse is telling us that we need to find the way our child should go and then urge them in that direction. This of course speaks of the general direction of spiritual guidance and a moral code. It also can apply to the deeper level of talents, skills and even personalities.
There is also a saying that goes, “As the twig is bent so grows the tree.” Meaning that the situations of our lives mark us, yet we still grow and become stronger. We tend the seed of life placed in our children from the Lord. In the same way that I thrive in environments that allow my strengths to shine my kids need me to recognize in them their uniqueness. I help them to hone their strengths and they gain confidence. I teach them to develop the talents God has given them and the twig bent in a certain direction grows stronger.
As they are nurtured in a structured environment they acquire the spiritual and moral compass they need. And as they are taught to do what they do well and depend on others in their weaknesses then the ship they sail out on will be sturdy, strong and swift. I am preparing my kids for life in the real world. Part of that, to me, is helping them be confident in who God has created them to be. Part of that is learning to value diversity and seek out the strengths in others. If they don’t know how to find their own strengths then how will they find the strengths in others?
When people verbalize to me that they notice how distinct our children are I can see that by God’s grace we have been able to train them in their unique ways. Dissension (otherwise known as sibling rivalry) is not tolerated in our home. Diversity is valued in our speech, our actions, and our attitudes towards one another. Yes, allowances are made (not paid) in our house. Obviously an allowance has been made for my wordiness, so I will close with a quote I find important as a parent when talking about embracing differences and creating a harmonious home.
“Never be the first one to stop hugging.”
Embrace the uniqueness of those around you and hold on tight.
second image courtesy: Art Reproductions Gallery