Since Olivia was tiny she has wanted to be an animal rescuer. Now she's felt the calling to be a missionary, but her love for animals is still there, and if you were to ask her she would likely tell you that she desired both things. It's my job as mom to be sure to sharpen these interests, and give her time to see if it really is something she is called to. Can her desires for the future change, OF COURSE! She's only 8. BUT, I can see her love for people groups and animals as a God given gift, and remember the words of Paul from Philippians 1:6 "I am sure of this, that He who created a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!" I believe that God is preparing amazing things for our kids. It's my job to be their biggest fan and PRAY for success for them. No matter what that looks like for them.
SO, how can you find some of your kids unique gifts even at a young age? I asked the following questions:
- Today, if you could do anything you'd like, what would it be?
- In high school(I said when you are a teenager), what activity do you most want to participate in?
- When you're 23, what do you want your career to be?
- Be with Jesus!
- Color with a red crayon.
- A Monster Truck driver!
- Help someone that was hurt.
- First she said, "Experience a baby deer." when I asked her to explain what that meant she said, "ACTUALLY! I want to do big kid swimming!"
- Work at a doctor office. Take care of animals.
- Go to Disney World.
- Draw a BIG picture on BIG paper. When I asked her to explain I learned she was talking about drawing murals.
- Working at LARRY'S PIZZA!!!!
- Take Palin(her dog) to a dog show and win first prize.
- Missionary work
First of all, BE WITH JESUS!! Are you serious? I just melted when he said that. He desires to be good and please his parents. I think he will have a future being a bold Christian and leader for his family some day.
When he said color with a red crayon I thought of two things. Number one, red is his favorite color. Number two, he's NEVER still for long while coloring. BUT, then I thought about how passionate he is about things like red being his favorite color. He's like that about other things too. He wants to be sure you know certain things about him right off the bat. I think this statement more shows me about his passion than what he actually wants to do as a teenager.
Right now he is TOTALLY into monster trucks. He got that way because Manly took him to see them for a guys night. Bubby doesn't get a lot of time with just Scotty because there just isn't a lot of time right now for that, but it has shown us that he LOVED spending that time just hanging out being a BOY with his dad. This reminds me to be sure to block off time for my boy to be a boy with his dad. We need to be sure that we make time to train him to be a good dad and husband because he has a wild masculine heart that needs to be tended to.
I was a little surprised by some of Addi's answers. Mostly because you never know what in the world that girl is going to say. BUT, I think the common theme of her answers is that she loves caring for others. She's always had such a caring soft heart for others. She's my child that will stop in the store just to chat with an elderly couple because she knows they may just need a smile. She's the first to tell strangers to have a nice day. She'll tell someone at the cash register that she likes their shirt or that they are pretty.
I learned from this that her answer, "Do big kids swimming." that I need to be sure to include her in as many big girl activities as possible. I'm sure it's hard being the middle of 6. I'm going to plan to put her in swim lessons this summer to see if it's something she really likes. If so, we may continue to see if it's something she's interested in and maybe join our local swim team. She has the build for swimming, so it may be something she's really good at.
I also see her need to please others in her answers. She and Olivia have talked at length about how they'll work together some day to save people and animals. I don't know if it's more something that Addi wants to do or that she just loves Olivia so much that she wants to please her and be with her. I want to be sure to cultivate in Addi her caring heart by getting her involved in community projects where she can serve others. I think that will be a time when she can really shine.
Oh, my silly KK. Her answers were a little different than I thought they'd be, but not much! Ha! Her first answer shows her desire to go and do things. That girl would love nothing better than to NEVER be home. She loves travel and going places and seeing things. I hope to be able to let her go and see more as she gets older and we have less tiny littles in our home. I'm much like her in this respect. I love to just get up and go somewhere. I love that spontaneity I see in her.
Her second answer was a little strange to me until I asked her to explain it to me and she said, "Like on Ramona and Bezus(the movie) where Ramona and her dad paint the big picture and take it to the class and everyone loves it so much!" I think that KK wants to please others and be the "cool kid." I think sometimes she suffers the second child shadow. This answer made me realize I need to be sure to cultivate in her a desire to let others see her for who she IS. I don't want her to do things to try to be liked. I want her to learn that being herself will allow others to be drawn to her because who she is is really cool.
Working at Larry's is actually a big step forward from working at McDonalds(which has been her goal in life since she was old enough to talk!). Bottom line. The girl is PASSIONATE about food. She really doesn't EAT a lot of food, but she just loves everything about it. The flavors of spices, the smells of food cooking, the colors of the food, the presentation, she loves it all! She can smell a food and know what is in it. I have NO idea how God is going to use this gift, but I know this. It's an OBVIOUS gift. I decided I need to plan a time to allow her to serve meals to homeless or help me take a new mommy meal. I think this would be a great way to show her how to focus her gifting.
My Livi had a hard time not answering the questions for everyone else. She has a need to control(which is a common trait for the first born). Once it was her turn she was sure of her calculated answers, and quickly put them out there for me. These three answers are gifts we've seen in her for the last several years, so I wasn't surprised by any of the answers.
I do want to get her some help in training her dog because it's something she's asked about and I know that she would be really good at training her if she had some help and I just don't have the time to do it(or the know how). She loves her dog and cares for her. It's TOUGH having a pet in a large family, but I've learned to just let her to the taking care of her and depending on her to be responsible for Palin. She's proved herself worthy of being a doggie owner.
She's taken art classes before and loved it. I think we may need to look into it again, or at least really spend some time at home allowing her to do different types of art projects.
Almost two years ago she told Scotty and I that she felt like God was calling her to be a missionary. At the time she told us she wanted to go to Alaska, but as she's learned more and more about different people groups she's felt a tugging for several different countries. I see her as a total Amy Carmichael type. She cares so deeply for others. Her sweet tender heart squeezes for children and hurting people. She always wants to help out on mission projects, and is a REALLY hard worker. Although it hurts this momma's heart to think about her leaving me someday soon for foreign soil, I know that she was given to me to train up and send out. I plan to continue to cultivate a giving heart in her. I want her to understand that having a tender heart is both a blessing and a hardship. I have to train her to guard her heart, yet open it up for others.
SO, what else can we do? We can learn as much about our kids interests as possible. Be sure not to confuse your own interests for theirs. Don't bulldoze over their interests because it's not something you are interested in. Rent books and movies from the library. Check out your local area classes. Read up on what is available in your area. Talk to your spouse about what your plan can be. Ask others for advice who may already be in a field your kids are interested in. Most importantly, PRAY that you will be ready for whatever comes.