Turning strengths into superpowers.

IMG_0510.PNGI forget that there are many paths in life and I get concerned when others don’t follow my path.  I am especially talking about one of my daughters.  It is becoming very apparent that my strengths are not necessarily hers.

She is beautiful, smart, funny and energetic.  I love her with all my heart.  She’s a normal 10 year old, and sometimes I forget that she’s 10.  I have written about my high expectations and she is not exempt from that.  I want her to be the leader of the other 3 children, but I am having a hard time influencing her in that direction.  She also hasn’t really embraced the role.

She has spurts where she’s doing exactly what I am asking.  Believe me, it’s not much in my mind.   You would think that asking her to clean up after herself and organize her things, that I’m asking her to cut off a finger and hand it to me.  It’s the summertime and we have our children reading books and doing homework for a portion of the day.  Getting her to read consistently is a miraculous thing.

But, here’s the kicker.  She really likes what she likes.  Last night I went into her room to say a final good night and she was up doing the hair on her mannequin.  I think she’s practicing cornrows.  We allowed her to purchase this “practice head” for her birthday with pop-pops money.  She really likes doing hair and make-up.  She enjoys dress-up and directing plays.  She has sat myself and my wife down more than once to put on a production, where the other 3 younger children act out scenes in a play, that my 10 year old has written.  She certainly is a very adept leader in those situations.

She is very artistic and creates videos that her friends share on a kids social network.  They’re really good.  Now that I really think about it, almost everytime I see her she’s doing something artistic.  She loves gymnastics and cheerleading as well.  No forcing required.  In fact, I’m always asking her to stop doing gymnastic moves at the house.  Flips and stuff…

Lately she’s been dressing up her dolls with original clothing that she makes from pieces of fabric.  She’s even begun to teach that skill to her youngest sister.

Which leads me to think about her strength zone.  I have learned time and time again that in order to get the most out of someone, you need to build up their strengths into “superpowers”.  As I recently read in Maureen Electa Monte’s book, “Unstoppable”, Major League Baseball teams don’t try and make their pitchers great hitters, they focus on them becoming great pitchers.

Am I trying to turn an artist into an engineer or a business woman?

I need to rely on God and realize that she may choose an artistic path rather than a scholarly one.  And that’s ok, God knows there is always a high demand for someone with that skill set.  She may want to go to beauty school or some other artsy endeavor, rather than a 4 year collegiate institution.  My wife and I need to be ready for that.  I also need to realize that I’m talking about a 10 year old. She may change her interests over time.  I’ve never had a 10 year old before.

All in all, I can’t worry.  I need to remember Proverbs 3:5 daily.  I love her and ultimately want her to be happy.  I think the best way to do that is to steer her towards her strengths, not mine.  Turn her into a person with superpowers.

If she became the best hairdresser and make-up artist in the world, or even in the state, no one can take that from her.  She can earn a living and she’ll be happy.

Accepting this is going to be very important for our relationship, as my expectations won’t be lowered, but shifted.  This is a very calming and humbling thought.

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