Yay, we made it to our 5th Love Dare Parent challenge! I’m a little behind so don’t worry if you are too. If you’re just finding us, feel free to just jump right in, here’s the details.
Before you can hold them even while still in your womb their little personalities, bents, temperaments, abilities..are being fearfully and wonderfully made. My first two kids temperaments in the womb reflect their temperaments to this very day. My first baby was so calm, I would worry because I couldn’t feel him move in my tummy. He is now 11 years old and he still carries that same temperament. He was never a rambunctious child, he’s always been a pretty mellow and calm kid. Then there was my 2nd child who never stopped moving in my womb. Some nights I wondered if he was practicing his break dance moves or trying to make a goal. To this day, he is our most energetic, tree climbing, sport playing, ball kicking child. I don’t think every child is the same temperament in the womb as they are in real life but my two just so happened to be the same.
His handiwork goes far beyond gender, shoe size and eye color. His genius also inscribes the intricacies of their personalities. Their perks and quirks and the bounces in their gait. Their eagerness to jump or their cautious tendency to wait. He handpicks their preferences. He rations out their healthy passions.
We need to be our child’s biggest cheerleader and we can’t do this if we don’t love and accept them for who they are–scrawny, artsy, athletic, shy, picky, outgoing, moody, happy-go-lucky, intelligent, timid… I am a strong believer in challenging ourselves and our children to do try new things, but we must also respect their limits and find ways to encourage them not to overcome their fears.
As good parents, we don’t tell our kids, “Music sucks–go grab a ball”, when they say they want to start taking piano lessons. But maybe we send the same message in more subtle ways. These subtle ways are the things I want to point out so that we are not unintentionally sending messages that their interest are not of value but even worst that they are not important.
- When we spend a lot of our time with the child who likes the same things we do.
- When we make comments about their interest and hobbies using words like: silly, frivolous, ridiculous…
- When we don’t say anything about their interest.
- When we don’t show up to their recitals, games, scrimmages…
- When we tune them out when they are sharing their interest.
- When they invite us to take part in their activity and we say no because it’s not our thing.
One of my boys went through a crafting phase. He wanted to make crafts all the time. I didn’t mind and I loved spending this time with him. My husband on the other hand, doesn’t care for crafts. He’ll oooh and ahhh about their craft work but he has no interest in making anything, that is until my child started this phase. One day, I came home from being out all day and I found him crafting with my son. It brought such joy to my heart to see him doing something he didn’t really enjoy for the sake of his son. He’s also not really into sports but you’ll find him regularly throwing the ball with my sports craze child.
Uncover and embrace the treasure you have been given. Accept and affirm their design. Water and cultivate the seeds God has already planted.
Embracing Their Quirks
I’ll be honest, I struggle with my boys negative quirks like my complaining child who has been this way since even before he could speak. His “glass half empty” type of personality quickly turns into complaining and before I know it–I’m over the top frustrated. But I have to remember this from chapter 5, “God is always intentional as to why He makes each child the way He does.”
Or this one really challenged me,
“His strength is often revealed most vividly through human weakness, cultivating deeper character and compassion in their families.”
Ha, his little temperament is also for me, to cultivate deeper character and compassion in me. I never thought of their quirks in this way. Please know, there is a difference between their quirks, personality and their bad choices. Just because my son has a bent towards seeing things negatively doesn’t justify his constant complaining or bad attitude. We still have to guide and correct him along the way but when I accept his negative quirks it helps me not get so frustrated.
Make a List
I invite you to join me and make a list of the wonderful ways your child has been made.
What we believe about our children, is reflected in what we say and how we treat them.
There was a point last year where my child who likes to whine and complain was constantly getting under my skin. I realized how much it was affecting our relationship when I had to come up with a list of things I enjoy about my kids. Compared to my other boys, his list was short. That’s when I realized how my attitude and frustration with him was affecting how I see him. I felt awful and asked God to fill my heart and mind with all the wonderful ways He has made him.
My firstborn child, is a compassionate young man, he is determined to overcome his obstacles, he is responsible, brave, wise and organized. He loves his family and hates the thought of a hurting child or animal. He has a twinkle in his eye and smile that brightens up a room. He’s extroverted and loves to be around people.
My second-born child, is adventurous, silly and loves to make others laugh. He is competitive but thoughtful. He is smart, kind, and his belly laughs, fill the room with joy. He loves his friends and is loyal. He loves deeply and feels immensely. He’s a sharp little cookie who remembers the most interesting things. He’s also extroverted but probably more like me where he thrives on both alone time and time with others.
My third born, is only 4 years old so we are still trying to figure out his little personality. Since we homeschooled them for the past 2 years, I think he picked up a lot of his brothers traits but I’m slowly seeing who he is. He’s thoughtful and shy. He’s determined to figure things out and loves to build things. I’m amazed at all his little creations he’s been making since he was 3 years old.
It’s listening and learning how your child thinks, dreams and grows. It’s separating their God-given leaning from their temporary longing. It’s watching their habits, guarding them against their weaknesses and growing them in their strengths.