The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

TRAINING: Take note of your child’s abilities

     Recently, Jim Newsome spoke at our church and related this modern fable by George Reavis.

     Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something to help their children face the problems of the world, so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. ...
     The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, he was even better than his teacher. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck....
     The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming. ...
     The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a "charlie horse" from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.
     The eagle was constantly causing problems and was severely disciplined. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but he kept insisting on using his own method of getting there. This was unacceptable.

     The point of the story is that each child has different abilities. Trying to make everyone the same ends in making everyone mediocre. Acknowledging differences opens the doors to excellence, to fulfillment, and to purpose.

     What are your child’s abilities? Here is a good practical place to start that begins to move our children toward purpose. Ephesians 2:10 states that we are his workmanship. God made us for his purpose and with the abilities to do that purpose. The beauty of God’s plan is illustrated in creation when we see the animals doing what they were meant to do. There is a certain joy in their activities.

     I recently watched two squirrels on a chase in my backyard. Across the fence, up the trees, jumping from branch to branch, one right behind the other at breakneck speed. It was fascinating. Then I saw what I had never seen before. The first squirrel jumped for a small twig of a branch, barely hanging on, the branch dropping two or three feet; but he held on and scrambled up. The problem was with the second squirrel. When the branch moved, he had nothing to grab. It was like a cartoon. Frantically grasping for anything, he simply grabbed nothing and down he went. Plummeting about twenty feet, he plopped to the ground. The first squirrel stopped and watched. I watched. The grounded squirrel lifted his head, got his bearings, saw the nearest tree, and off he went again, resuming the chase, apparently unhurt. I laughed out loud. They were having fun being squirrels, doing what they were made to do.

     What are your child’s abilities? What can he do? What is he not able to do? A simple common sense approach will recognize his abilities and help him to see them, too. “Wow, you are pretty good at that.” You may want to download this little interest inventory to give you a start. Simply click here

     What are your child’s inabilities? What are things that she obviously was not made to do? We can say, “Hey, that was a good try. Thanks for giving your best.” But we can’t tell her she is good at that just so she feels good about it in the moment. That would be confusing to her. Unconditional love does not mean that we tell her she's good at everything. That's just not true. If we don’t help her recognize what she cannot do, we may be creating a mediocre child who does not know where to focus her efforts as she matures. 

     Part of our job as parents is to be watching our kids as they grow and guiding them into purpose. Their abilities get us going in the right direction, but there’s more . . . next week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

TRAINING: The Happiness/Purpose Connection

     Most parents today would say that their goal for their children is “happiness.” Unfortunately, the end result of that journey to “happiness” most often ends in disappointment. The kids grow up to drift from one thing to another, many move back home, and the elusive butterfly of happiness is farther away than ever. As Christians, the path is not so mysterious.
Psalm 139:16
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

     Throughout the Bible there are numerous passages that clearly indicate that God created us with something in mind. Neither we nor our kids were created to drift. Discovering that God has written the path for us to follow is a big-time revelation. It is also the starting point in happiness.

     Let’s start with this thought: We are all more alike than we are different. We were all made in His likeness, in His image. We were all made to be like God. In one big overwhelming sense, we are all born with the same purpose. This purpose is stated in different ways in God’s book but the same meaning keeps popping up. We were made to do His will. We were all made for His pleasure. We were all made to glorify God.

     Jesus had this same purpose. He came to do the will of the Father. In connection with that overriding purpose that we all share, Jesus mentioned some smaller purposes that were unique to him in his journey on earth.
•    I must preach the gospel to all the villages.
•    I did not come to be served but to serve.
•    I have come that they might have life . . .
•    I did not come to judge the world but to save it.
•    I came to seek and to save the lost.

     Those are only a few of the short-range purposes that he expressed. There were others. This is true for our kids also. Each one is born to do the will of God, but the outworking of God’s will in their lives will be expressed in many different ways for each one. As parents we must get involved in helping our children discover their unique purposes so that they do not drift into aimless adulthood.

    Chuck Swindoll in his book You and Your Child quotes a familiar passage with a different twist.
Proverbs 22:6 
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
     He explains that a child is born with a certain “bent.” He has abilities, preferences, strengths already built into him; and one of our jobs as parents is to help our children discover these things. Included in that will also mean that we help them discover what they can’t do, what they don’t like, and where they aren’t strong.

    In other words, God has written purpose in the Bible but also in our DNA. When he formed the inward parts in the mother’s womb, God wove traits from mom and dad together, but that is not all. He also wrote and formed and wove us together out of his own plan and purpose and desires. Each child is more than the sum of his parents’ DNA, he is also carrying some surprises written into him by God. Read Psalm 139 and see.

    As parents, we have awesome opportunities to watch and discover the innate gifting of each of our children. We have the responsibility to guide them in discovering how they are made for God. We will have the joy of seeing them walk out lives of purpose.
In my mother’s womb, you shaped and formed
Every detail that I am.
There’s wonder and mystery in every cell
And I thank you for who I am.
Your wondrous works are on display;
I see and I’m convinced
I too am made by Wisdom’s touch
Marked by Your fingerprints.
The moment when the sperm and egg
Were joined by intimate hearts,
Invisibly, skillfully, You designed
And chose my intricate parts.
You wrote the code for my DNA
With traits from Dad and Mom.
And then with laughter in Your eyes,
You added traits just for surprise:
The print of my Maker’s thumb!
In earliest stage, my course was mapped
And coded by Your hand.
Your purpose written in my heart
My life designed and planned.

     Next week, we’ll explore some practical ways to discover the purpose for each of your children.