Kids can be scatterbrained at times, would you agree? They tend to jump from one activity to the next; one day they like one thing and the next they dislike it and are on to something new. It can feel like running a marathon just to keep up with their constantly changing curiosities. While this is healthy and normal, kids can sometimes become discouraged along the way, when they find they aren’t as good at something as they want to be. This is often where parents fall into the trap of using praise to make their kids feel better about themselves.
Rather than being that praise parent, instead try to encourage your kids through your ability to be a talent scout. You, as an encourager, must have the “vision” to see talent in its raw or undefined stages, visualize it as it’s developing, and express the value of that talent so that your child also sees the possibilities.
The best way to be a talent scout is to REALLY know your children. In my opinion, parents are the best ones equipped for this job, and all you really need to do is spend some extra time observing your children. Listen carefully to what they say, what kinds of things interest them and what types of questions they ask. All of these will lead you towards what kinds of things they will excel at.
Once you have watched and learned from your child, all you have to do is point them in the right direction. Give them an opportunity to explore their interests and what they are good at, and then make sure they know that you value the same things that they value. Believe it or not, your children just want your approval, and if they think you approve of how they spend their time, they will spend more time doing those things. As your children begin to experience and develop their talents, you will find it easier and easier to use encouragement to guide them towards pursuing their interests and staying true to themselves.
“The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.” —Ovid (43 BC-18 A.D.), Roman poet.
For more information on Encouragement, see Chapter 7 of the Parenting On Track™ Home Program.