It's important for parents to explore their children's talents with them. Show you children that they are capable of greatness! Your gift of encouragement is priceless to them.
In Gallup's new book, "Strengths Based Parenting: Developing Your Children's Innate Talents", author Mary Reckmeyer notes six categories of parent behaviors that help to make a difference in their child's development.
Direction: Parents provide direction for their children by verbalizing their expectations, as well as advocate for their children when necessary.
Concentrated Time: Parents listen to what their children want to talk about, devote their time in doing homework, playing games, reading, etc.
Celebrations: Parents plan fun things to do with their children and make sure they celebrate positive experiences with them.
Recognition: Parents give generous praise directly focused on their child's achievements.
Emotional Support: Parents express their love and support their children emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally and socially.
Structure: Parents provide their children with opportunities for responsibility and intentionally discuss right and wrong decisions.
When I saw the video on "The Backyard Zamboni", I loved how the father helped his son develop the zamboni and then demonstrate how it works!
Everyone has talent. As you think of your own children, do you know what ways your children are uniquely talented? Do you know how they think? What's most important to them?
Your child has something very unique inside them! They have a special way of looking at the world! Their unique perspective has the ability to create new inventions, lead groups of people to better solutions, entertain others, and change the way we think about things!
If you are interested in more information of how to discover your child's strengths, contact me!
Rock Your Strengths! (And the Strengths of your child!)
Two years ago I lost my job and found myself, for the first time since I was 20 years old, looking for a job. I suppose I had never really had a "job" in the 25 years of me being employed because it rarely felt like work. I was a teacher! I began my career teaching blind students. We learned all kinds of things from each other. I taught them how to become filmmakers and they taught me to stop and listen for my Mom's footsteps when she came into the house, they taught me to not rush eating my lunch because each item had a different texture and flavor...basically ... I taught them math, reading and writing, and they taught me about LIFE!
Then I went on to teach for actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. I taught their children as well as all of the most amazing children in our village. Again, I taught movie making, music composition ... and they taught me about the ins and outs of being a celebrity. I learned about keeping kids safe while expanding their worlds. I learned about joy and sorrow.
And when that school closed, I figured I would just go right back to my public school and start teaching there again. Wrong! There were a few problems...1) I had 25 years of experience in a classroom...they were only accepting 3. 2) I had too much education and masters...they wanted teachers with none, so they didn't have to pay them as much.
So the very thing that I knew, breathed and identified my entire career with, was suddenly gone. My Focus had nothing to Focus on. I had nothing to Achieve or Learn. And there's nothing more sad than Positivity on a depressed day.
I'm sure my husband was a little worried, so he tried to help by finding me jobs to apply for. He found on, in particular, that he thought I'd be great for. It wasn't really my "thing" (whatever that was anymore), but I went. I got dressed up, drove to LA and had a pretty good interview...until they asked me this question: "What sets you apart from the other candidates?"
(Hmmm... I have no idea. Who are they? What are they like?) All of my attention was immediately drawn to a group of people that I had never met or didn't know anything about. I was tongue tied.
After I left that interview, here's what my thoughts were: "That will NEVER happen to me again. Because I KNOW who I am! I just want to run right back up those steps and give them my REAL answer!" ....And you know what that real answer would have been??? Here's what it would have sounded like had I marched back in the building:
"You know, I don't know who the other candidates are, but even without knowing them, I can definitely tell you what sets me apart from them.
#1 I am an Achiever. That means I work hard and have a great deal of stamina. I take great satisfaction in being productive. My inner drive to accomplish things is intense, full of energy and has an incredible work ethic to get it done, and get it done right.
But that's not all! I am also a Learner and have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. If there are new things to learn, you will have just lit my mind on fire of possibilities of the things I can enjoy learning. And I love to learn with teams of people!
#3 I have Focus. I can take direction, follow through and make the necessary corrections to stay on task. I prioritize then act. This can look intense at times, especially when paired with my Achiever. If there is a goal that needs to be met, I will do my best to get it done. I am persistent, dependable and follow-through.
#4 My Positivity colors my world. It touches all that I do. I use this talent to cheer myself up when I'm in the midst of a long, and difficult task, and also to cheer up others around me. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The glass is always half full.
And last, I have Woo. Woo is Winning Others Over. There is no greater joy than meeting new people and winning them over. I love to break the ice and make connections with other people. In this position, if you need to bring social energy to a room, I'm your girl!
If I had said those words, like I wanted to, after I left, It wouldn't have mattered if they hired me or not. Because I would have told them exactly who I was. And if that's not what they were looking for, it wouldn't bother me. But, seriously, who wouldn't want someone who can work hard, focus on learning everything there is to learn about new things, then bringing people in to celebrate all the work that the company had accomplished....and ALL with a good attitude!!?
My point is this. Know. Your. Strengths. Know them well enough that when you are in an interview, and your prospective employer asks what makes you different from all the others...you will HAVE an answer!
Have a ready answer when someone asks you about your Strengths. Be able to articulate them. Practice! (Yep, sounds weird, but when you are in the moment, you'll be so happy you have a ready answer! You never know when those opportunities will pop up in your life. Be prepared for them!)
Rock Your Strengths!
(And let me know when you get that job so we can all celebrate with you!) Oh, what job did I end up getting? I worked for Discovery, Google and Apple as an education consultant, I started my own Strengths business and now am working on marketing a brand new skincare line! I'm also the worship leader at my church, mother of 2 almost grown daughters and wife to a pastor. Basically, I'm retired now! Retired...because I only do things now that I am completely passionate about! It's just how I like it!
This week my husband and I were in San Fransisco doing some Strengths research. The city was FILLED with people of all types, heights, weights, sizes and colors. It was bustling with activity!
As we were walking down the streets I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with the number of passers-by. One child had lost a glove on the street, but the parents were too busy walking to notice that it had been dropped. They got in a cab before we could give the child her glove. So I started noticing how many people had gloves on their hands. Quite a few did!
Before I noticed the dropped glove, I wasn't paying any attention to who had or didn't have on gloves. I was only noticing the number of people. But you see what you are looking for. Once I started focusing on who was wearing gloves, I could start to see differences in them...colors, fabrics, sizes, etc.
It's like that way with our Strengths. We see what we are looking for. Once you have a specific thing to look for, you will notice it in many places. You may even start to recognize varying shades of that theme...when it's strong, when there are slight nuances, etc.
This year, I want to challenge you to select a theme and begin to notice it in yourself. Look for when it appears and write it down. You'll soon discover patterns of when you feel strong and empowered. Those patterns will help you navigate towards more opportunities to leverage that talent!
I wear a dog tag necklace with all 5 of my Strengths on it. I also have my husband and two daughter's tags on my neck. When I notice them working in their Strengths, I write it down. It helps me to see the amazing gifts that each of them have...(and it will be a great Christmas gift for them for next year!).
Do something to help you remember...then purposefully Rock Your Strengths.
I've been wearing my tags every day. I've gotten to talk to many people about not only Strengths, but the Strengths of my family. As these tags have been jingling on my neck, I've decided to do a special thing for my family for next year.
As I wear these tags, I am reminded of how amazing each one of my family members are. I am going to create a jar for each one of my children and one for my husband. As I notice them working in their Strengths throughout the year, I'm going to save a little note in the jar. Next year, for Christmas, I'm going to gift them with these notes and thoughts I've had about them all year.
This activity will definitely be calling on my Focus and Achiever Strengths. But I also want to Woo my family with letting them always know how important they are to me, and how I see them developing their own Strengths.
What will YOU do to remember your Strengths, and those of your loved ones?