I heard a pastor’s message on Peter lately. She was talking about Peter and how his greatest strengths could also be his greatest weaknesses. She pointed out that she saw some of her own strengths in her children, but they presented themselves as weaknesses. For example, being a persuasive preacher in herself presents itself as a weakness in her children of being argumentative.
This really struck me. So many times I see things in my children that I view as weaknesses, but yet if I examine them closer I will see potential strengths. My oldest son Samuel tends to be perfectionist, which can be a weakness because it lends itself to harshness towards himself and those around him if they don’t perform to his level of expectations. However, I see that same trait in my husband Glenn as a strength because he is very good at details. I am not good at details and therefore things go undone or slip through the cracks. But Glenn is very on top of things. He has the most impressive system of filing emails I have ever seen! My son Jordan has the gift of gab and also can be really manipulative and persuasive. That can be a bad thing for the obvious reasons, but that same trait in my husband is a strength because he is an excellent leader and can get those who follow him to excel and love him at the same time.
So, how do we as parents find the diamonds in the lumps of coal of the weaknesses of our children. First of all, we must view these weaknesses in our children as untapped potential. That was revolutionary for me. It changes how we view our children. They are lumps of clay just waiting for someone to mold them into some masterpiece. Hopefully that someone is God using us as His hands. We must be careful to mold our children without destroying them. God has placed in each child a unique set of gifts that we may not share with them. Samuel has a gift of math. He can do almost any addition problem in his head and just has a real nack for it. I, on the other hand, am terrible at math. Currently, his second grade math word problems are stumping me on a regular basis. Yes, I am serious! Anyway, so I might not understand his love for math, I might want him to like writing, like I do. But he likes math. I need to be careful not to destroy that gift in his life just because I don’t understand it.
Second, we need to see in our children what their gifts and talents are and help them polish those things. I will use my second son Jordan as an example. My husband and I know that Jordan is outgoing and so we would never suggest that he should become a scientist who works in a lab all day by himself. That would drive him crazy! We will steer him towards things that use his outgoing nature and gift of gab in constructive ways.
This really has helped me see my children in a new light and not be annoyed by their “faults”. Most of the time they are faults that my husband and I have gifted them through our genetics anyway. But I can see how God has molded me into the person that He wants me to be and has made many of my faults into strengths. He can do that with my children also, if I allow him to.