Imagine a tree growing in your yard. It’s a magnificent oak tree, one of rare breed and very beautiful. But the owner doesn’t really care for the mighty oak because he wanted some Australian Acacia growing there. The owner dismisses the shade, the power, and the beauty of the incredible oak tree all while wishing for something he doesn’t have.
I recently read this illustration in Tom Sturges’ book “Parking Lot Rules: 75 Ideas For Raising Amazing Children.”
Too often we overlook, even dismiss our child’s unique strengths and gifts because we’re trying too hard to form them into our expectations.
Expectations can serve a purpose, but too often are based on our own shortcomings in life and how we percieve those to be successful.
Sports offer a good example. Some kids are wired for loving the action of sports and others aren’t. But the same could be said of the arts and music. Let your child experience things, but once they discover their favorite hobby or activity, encourage them in it.
Grow the tree you have. Don’t try to make it be something it is not.
It reminds me of a similar modern parable of the animals discussing their strengths and weaknesses. Because the fish couldn’t fly, he felt like a failure. Because the bird couldn’t swim, she felt like a failure. And this conversation went on between the animals, each feeling like a failure because they were focused on their weakness and not their God-given unique abilities.
Each child will be wired differently. They will also have so many unique experiences that make them who they are.
Parents: be thankful. And grow the tree you have.
Here’s a link to this really cool (short chapters) book – 75 Ideas For Raising Amazing Kids.