How can we raise our kids in a way that hones their passions, not ours?
“Be a nurse,” he said, and I listened to him because he was my dad. His reasoning was that the world always needs nurses, so I would have guaranteed income.
But Dad, with his math brain and love for all things science, did not see that I was a girl who excelled with words. I cried my way through high school chemistry and pre-calculus but took Shakespeare just for fun. While he was trying to impress me with the ins-and-outs of electricity flow, I was submitting articles to Reader’s Digest, trying to get published.
So I arrived at college with a stethoscope tucked in my bag –a graduation gift from my aunt who was a nurse. But at the end of the first semester, I was calling Dad in tears because I was about to flunk my first science class.
At the end of my freshman year, I was in a required English course. At the end of class one day, the professor asked me to stay. She held in her hands a paper I had recently turned in.
“What is your major?” she asked.
“Nursing,” I replied.
“You are an excellent writer. Why aren’t you an English major?”
“I don’t know,” I said. That very day I talked to Dad and then changed my major.
Recognize Your Kid’s Passions
The truth was that I was not an English major because my dad did not see my gift with words as something valuable. Now look at me! I’m a published author and a high school Spanish teacher. I also write Bible studies for the small groups at my church. Language is my thing.
Of course, my dad only had my welfare in mind, as he encouraged me to be a nurse, but he failed to look beyond his own passions, to help me excel and proceed in mine.
So then I became a parent, and my husband and I kept our eyes open, to see which way our kids were bent. It happened that God gave them both a gift for music, so we paid for band instruments and then voice lessons. Later my son showed an interest in the guitar, so we bought him one for Christmas and funded guitar lessons. He ended up being good enough to lead worship music.
Our son is now 20, and this last year he began vlogging, which is a hoot. He’s amazing at video editing and even uses a program to write his own background music for his videos. This Christmas my husband got a Christmas bonus, and we used it to help my son get a really nice video monitor. We want to encourage him in the gifts God has given him.
How Did God Shape Your Children?
My advice to you is that you start praying and asking God to show you how he has shaped each one of your children. Then assist and encourage each child to grow and excel in that direction as much as you can. You’ll find it’s a joy to see your child blossom in his natural talents, even if those talents are drastically different from your own gifts and passions.
If you think about it, God does this same thing with us:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we may walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
God masterfully creates each person in a unique way and then designs good work that just fits each person.
Sit back and look at your kids today (even if they’re all grown up.) How has God made your child, and how can you encourage and support his or her unique passions and abilities?
Much love from Montana,
Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She has a daughter who is married and a son in college. Christy writes to help people know God, and you can find her new book about becoming blameless on Amazon. Or follow her devotional blog at ChristyFitzwater. You can follow Christy on Instagram here!