Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nourishing Your Child's Talents & Strengths

Lately I have been trying to zero in on my kids natural talents, interests, and things I can gently encourage them to try out.

My son is the oldest and our only boy. He is also my biggest critic when it comes to food. I know that if I taste the meal I just prepared and think "Ehh this could be better." or "The chicken is too dry." he will blurt it out too. He has a sense! Instead of just eating what his mommy makes he has to first tell me what he likes and what he doesn't like and he usually tells me why he feels that way. There are days when I put his meal on the table and tell him "Gavin, I know it sucks but that's what I made." Gavin is also a little book worm these days ( a past time his father and I both enjoy when the book is right ). He's also highly coordinated with backyard sports. We'll see where that goes I am sure!

My oldest daughter is forever singing. She absolutely loves to sing, she likes to dance too. She's pretty awesome. Just today she came home singing a song perfectly that she learned in school. Her big brother said it made him want to cry. I am overjoyed that I have one musical child, possibly two... I am looking into putting Cambria into music lessons or dance next school year. She just started kindergarten, so I don't want to put too much on her plate too fast. She is equally brilliant at both singing and dancing. I should also tell you that while she asks some of the strangest things I have ever heard a 5 year old ask, she is very smart and eager to learn.

My youngest child, Arayla is the artist, the forever talking coloring on walls and furniture artist! She loves drawing and painting and she sings. Sometimes at the same time. Some of the notes that come from her mouth amaze me. She's still young, I know this. But I think she'll have the singing gift as well. Plus... ever since she was little, like barely walking, she has been insanely flexible and if my gut (pun intended) is right, I think she's going to be the athletic child(I am not athletic by any means aside from the fact that my body type is naturally athletic when I allow it to be). Did I mention she is fearless?! Strangest thing I have ever seen in my life! The only thing she seems to be afraid of are ceiling fans.  

My children are absolutely amazing and especially so when you take the time to see their strengths and natural talents. Every parent should take the time to say "My child can...." instead of "My child can't ___ yet" or "I wish __ could do that". (Instead of seeing a picky eater, I now choose to see a child who may grow to love food as much as his insane mother.)
Just like you and me our kids are their own people and they will excel in various areas of their lives. You may have one child that seems to be able to do everything so well and another that will struggle and get discouraged easily. That's ok!
Take the time to know your children and recognize that maybe your kid really loves singing, but doesn't want to have to practice it. If Cambria tells me "Mum, I don't like singing lessons I just want to sing when I feel like it." I will look into any other possible reasoning for these feelings first but stop pushing her to get better. I love her just the way that she is and if she is happy, I will be happy for her. Always. And if Arayla trades in her paint brushes for drumsticks or boxing gloves that's cool too.
My plans now.... are to spend more time in the kitchen with Gavin. He's a critic not a chef and I want him to be both, someday. Everyone has to eat and everyone should be able to cook well. Even if he is only watching or listening. I know that it will sink in.
This is how I learned to make my dad's salmon patties "Are you listening Rach?" he asked as I was sitting at the counter annoyed because I wasn't on the phone or the computer. "Yeeesss". So when I grew up and hadn't had my dad's awesome salmon patties in years I called him up and sounded something like this, "Hey dad, what to do put in those salmon patties I want to make sure I remember it right." He sounded flabbergasted that I had possibly forgotten and I think he might have called me an "egg head". For the record I DID remember the recipe! Haha. I learned so much about food from my dad. Especially how to pick good steaks. He was wise to tell me everything he did when I was growing up, I would have been so lost when I went out into the world on my own.
I know that Gavin could gain so much from cooking with his being all picky about eating. When the girls are a little older they'll learn all the tricks too. 
I will encourage Gavin in the kitchen, play more music for Cambria and designate some painting clothes for Arayla. One of the amazing parts about being a parent is giving your children the tools they need to succeed in life.

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