#8 Develop your child’s gift. As a follow-up to discovering your child’s gift, the next goal in the affirmation process is to help them develop their interests, talents, and skills. If your child has the gift of service, find a place for them to serve. If your child is the mechanical type, find something for them to build. If your child likes to read, find material that teaches and challenges.
For our family, some of these situations looked like this. Our oldest son, Josh, had an early interest in computers. He took a class in junior high where he built a 386 computer from scratch. (Thank you Mr. White). He soon had a business designing websites while still in high school. This interest led to a four-year degree in graphic design and his current job at Travelocity designing mobile apps.
Similarly, our daughter, Elizabeth, enjoyed babysitting in her teenage years. But babysitting seems such a lame word for what she really did. She was more like a cruise director taking her young charges through hundreds of cool planned activities and hours of random fun. She was so skilled and comfortable in her job that by the time she was thirteen clients were asking if she would be driving over or needed a ride to their home. Today, she is a sought after nanny and personal trainer in Boston, Mass.
This interest-to-life’s work progression became a common theme at our house with Annie’s service and prophet gift now being put to use, with her family, as overseas workers with Wycliffe Associates. Bethany volunteered at Cy-Fair hospital during her high school years and followed that interest all the way to becoming a registered nurse. Joe’s design skills with Legos and video game structures bode well for his engineering major. (Although his mom thinks they look more like the skills of an architect. I think the original Artist is just trying to get one more artist in the family.)
Can I encourage you? Don’t try to force your interests and talents onto your children as a way to recreate your life through them. They are each unique. And a parent who helps them discover and develop all they were gifted by God to be will experience the joy of discovery alongside their steadily maturing young people.