Guess where we are?
The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background – at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.
Every individual is unique. No two persons have the same finger print nor voice frequency. Every person has their own individual characteristics that make each of them – them.
It was only tonight that my wife mentioned that she was having a little difficulty coming to terms with the changes she has been observing with our daughter. These changes were testing her patience.
I told her that I believed that the optimal way is to allow our daughter to grow and discover her own possibilities. It is a continuously evolving process. We shouldn’t, as parents force our own biases and preferred philosophies on our child without embracing the uniqueness that makes up that child first.
I believe our parenting styles should not be too static and inflexible. Both parties to any successful relationship needs to negotiate slack. A constant push and pull tug-o-war.
We, as parents need to be better listeners, in particular, we need to listen to what our children ‘do not say’. In other words we should become more aware of our ‘children’s’ unique ways and adopt and adapt our parenting styles accordingly.
I think this is the meaning of the line regarding the process of raising your child (parenting) somewhere in proverbs in the Bible, something along the lines of –
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
As I see it, the ‘way’ is determined and ultimately pre-determined by God. It is unique to the child, to each of us (all God’s children). Way could also be another term for ‘path’ or ‘road’ I would think.
Metaphorically at least, I think this word ‘way’ relates to a ‘characteristic’.
So, it would follow that you, as a parent need to train your children according to his or her individual, unique characteristics – his or her WAY. This is difficult, I know but it is the best way, the optimal way.
Day out with my children at the Opera House.
If you believe there is a God or higher being (whatever you call it), then, you would see my argument here, that as parents, we cannot entertain the notion that each of our children is like a lump of play-do that we can mould to our desire. They each have a significant input in to their moulding process too.
Each child already has a unique stamp. This unique stamp is given from this higher force, this God. A pre-determined pattern – stamp. It is a GOD DNA.
I love observing my children and increasing my awareness of the strengths of both of them. My daughter, for example, is quite artistic and showed the aptitude and interest in colouring and drawing and writing very early in her life. My son, on the other hand is quite innovative and mechanically inclined.
He has already been showing strong signs of ‘thinking outside the square’ since he was 2 years old.
Each child has their own ‘way’. Their own unique characteristics. Their strengths.
Have you observed the differences in your children? Perhaps you were from a home of several children. May be one of you siblings was creative, another, practical. One may have been academically intelligent; another just average or didn’t finish High School. One of your brothers may be out-going and another sibling could have been withdrawn.
This is the ‘way’ that each and every one of us is created to make you uniquely – YOU. We didn’t just all roll out of a assembly line like the mass—produced products flooding the world every single day. We all have our own unique WAYS.
Each child, each individual is created and hand-crafted by none other than, God. But my wife and I are not alone in this department because most parents reading this would have had issues with their children as they pass through the various stages of development.
The key to survival in all areas of life is adaptation.
Zachary and Olivia with their good friend – Ruby. They just adore one another.
It is no different with the raising of children. Parents should treat this relationship, like any good, long-term relationship. You need to adapt to the ever-evolving child as he or she develops, it is a very dynamic process. Yes, your patience will be tested greatly (and you will test you child’s patience too), but always fall back on the philosophy of adaptation.
Based on what I have observed from life and what I have just said above, I think a lot of parents make 2 major mistakes in the raising of their children:
- Using the same parenting approach with all their children.
- Compare their children to other children.
These two major and serious mistakes stem from parents not making themselves more aware of each child’s uniqueness, from not knowing each child better. From not hearing what each child is ‘not saying’. From not understanding each child’s strengths and limitations.
Possible Solution: it is pivotal that all parents observe and understand the unique characteristics (strengths) in each of our children. The earlier, the better.
The acceptance of this tailor-made, handcrafter master-piece philosophy that represents each individual child can certainly make parenting more meaningful and wise. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parenting. Find a shoe that fits.
Embrace each child’s uniqueness. Take sufficient and appropriate actions to change your parenting style to facilitate the child’s way or characteristics or strengths. You need to have the courage to adapt your parenting style accordingly. It requires an attitudinal change. Watch them grow up in to the citizens of the world you imagine them to be.
At the pool with my munchkins – Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me.
Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids).
Become aware of their strengths-their ways.
Pray (if you’re that way inclined) that their future is their WAY and is built on their WAYS (strengths and characteristics).
The thing is, correcting these parenting mistakes could have profound implications on your childrens’ future. Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests (supports the God DNA belief).
Even more recent research is suggesting that the roots or our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. The study revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits/characteristics at age 26.
So, one of the responsibilities of parents is to identify the way or characteristics of each child, to find the areas where each child has greatest potential to develop strengths. Then go and do just that to realise their potential.
Deliberately tailoring parenting to each child is important because it allows each child find ‘their own unique way’. Too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction, the wrong path, the wrong way. They go not only from cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.
This truth, unfortunately, is all too common.
So, adapt your parenting and correct the two parenting mistakes I highlighted above. Help your son or daughter find their way, based on their strengths not their weaknesses. This increases their chances of reaching their potential.
You see this regularly in sports. Great coaches of winning sports teams understand this and coaches each member of the team differently. The coach is a master at getting each team member to ‘work to his strengths’. This helps realise not only the individual’s potential but also contributes to the team’s overall effectiveness.
Change NOW to help your children NOT take the path of most resistance (working on their weaknesses and trying all their lives overcoming deficits). This is a waste of life but is the path of a great majority of people.
Just like your children, everyone has their WAY, their unique ways – what is yours? Are you working to your strengths? Why not?
Food for thought.
All the best.
Until next time,
My Unique WAY.
Working to my strengths. Are you working to yours?