Stormy Seas and Trees

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?

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, 1887
A Ship in the Stormy Sea by: Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, 1887

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

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18 thoughts on “Stormy Seas and Trees

  1. Our two female-type grandchildren are as different as they can be. The older one, who’s only 10, thinks she’s the younger one’s (7) mother. “Do this” and “do that” are common words we hear. Those two girls do love one another, though.

    The elder is gentle and so tender-hearted. My mother used to call the younger “little bulldozer.” Don’t even try to imagine; you would have to see her in action.

  2. @ngie, it is so good to read about your approach to your parenting and the wonderful foundation you and DaRonn are giving your children by valuing their uniqueness and encouraging their individual personalities and talents – what a wonderful gift you are giving! What dignity and grace this must give our children, and others, when we value their uniqueness in this way! So good!

  3. @Pre..Pen – Our youngest daughter is a bulldozer as well. It is amazing how she knows how to push the buttons of her two older siblings.

    @Birgit – Dignity… that is such a powerful word that reaches passed ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries. Thank you for your kind words.

  4. My children are unique, and all created in HIS image…I , too , like to encourage them in the areas they are strong and to do your best at all things…and it is so important to teach them and show them the inheritance we have in Christ. I believe HIS word will not come back void. Love ya, have a great day!

    BTW- I do believe in “never being the first to stop hugging…wonder how long we would hug if God lets me visit? ;)

  5. Love the final quote. My three are really distinct too. It IS a challenge to figure out how to reach, love, and teach each one, since they all receive it differently.

  6. I like the picture of the tree growing through the fence expecially when it comes to our kids. Yep I think our kids are the greatest. Cute as well. I could not imagine them being any different then each other. Just when I though God could not come up with a different one here comes another that breaks the mode.

  7. We taught at our parenting conference here about a tree having a stake tied to it in order for it to grow strong and in the direction it needs to. The stake is there to strengthen the tree, not to limit it. Afterwards someone came to us and told us that the Bolivian phrase for the stake that holds a tree is “pie de mi amigo” or as you know “foot of my friend”. It´s because we love our children, because we are their friends, we give them something strong to guide them….the Word of God.

  8. @Michelle – Thank you so much.

    @DaRonn – Our kids are the greatest. :-)

    @Denise – I love that! I hadn’t known that was what we call it in Spanish; how perfectly fitting. Thanks for filling me in on that. Tu eres una amiga fiel. Te quiero mucho. :-)

  9. I love it!! I aspire to such a thing when I have kids. I’m a bit intimidated, to be honest … but I know the great benefits from this way of loving them. It’s greatly challenging as a parent, I know. You’re an inspiration!

  10. @Anita la futura mama – I heard a quote once that went something like: “If what we aspired to was easy enough for us to accomplish on our own we would not rely on God; he gives us the capacity to dream enormous dreams so that he can help us see them become a reality.” It is a daily challenge of putting my hand in his and allowing him to guide me.

  11. That’s a great quote. I think I’ve heard it, but I can’t remember who said it either. Isn’t it always a daily challenge? Thank God for His patience.

  12. very neat to hear about the differences in their personalities and how you’ve handled that as a parent. much to be learned on my end!

    and that quote at the end—i like it! i can only do that with a few people in my life that i hold closely.

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