People frequently make the observation of the diversity of personalities represented in my kids. They ask how we have nurtured their uniqueness. My answer usually points to a teaching I heard that kids are not blank canvases. That as parents we have the responsibility to identify and then encourage the individual leans of our children.
Up until recently this has been a supreme joy for me as a mama, the light in a myriad of drudgery. We celebrate our strengths and it’s all hunky-dory. But…
What happens now that I am identifying in one of my children a personality and (dare I say it) gifting that rubs me the wrong way?
The problem might be that I have branded in my own mind the philosophy of the ‘not blank canvas’. I imagine myself ‘helping’ this child move in the direction of a honed gift and cringing the whole time.
I hate cilantro. It’s the one food I abhor. I don’t keep it in my home, I don’t cook with it and I don’t order food with cilantro. This personality trait feels like cilantro in my mouth.
So what do I do? (*this is where you start to come up with brilliant, change-your-life advice and share it with me, okay?*)
The way I see it I have two choices:
1. I can put on a happy face and fake like I like cilantro so this child will have a shot at developing this gift. The downfall to this approach would be a secret resentment (that I already can feel growing inside me, thus this cry-for-help post) and a distanced relationship. Not good.
2. I can scrap my ‘not a blank canvas’ philosophy and try to find some creative techniques for encouraging alternative personality traits. The struggle I have here (besides the probable resentment that will spring forth from my child costing the steep price of authenticity in our relationship) is the fear of abandoning a philosophy that has defined me as a mother for these 13 years.
With the hope of having an authentic relationship with my child in which both of us can be true to the unique lean God has placed in us I am begging for your advice and observations of this personality issue. Oh, and this personality that rubs me the wrong way is not anything sinful or hurtful. Actually, in the minds of many the traits are revered and honored. Which leads me to believe that I am so messed up! I think I need to call my mommy…
Thanks for your thoughts!