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Personal strengths

We all have special unique talents. Seeing them, embracing them and focusing on them is key to our success, with that said it is not easy in a competitive society.

When I was a kid, achieving high grades was a big thing in my family. All subjects were important, but math most of all. High grades in math meant you were smart. I worked really hard at school, trying my best to “be smart”, I got good grades in all subjects, at math I worked hard and was good but never great. My brother on the other hand excelled in math with minimum effort, so he was considered the smart one. I was considered the hard worker. The good kid.

So with my kids I was determined so see each one for their unique gifts. Smart in their own unique way. As many things, it is easier said than done. My daughter’s report card is mediocre. Except for art. She excels in art. But art is not considered very important in her school.

Every time we go to parent’s day I have this secret desire that the teacher will say how great she is and that everything is good . It never happens. I know it won’t happen, since she does not excel at the things her school marks. The standard routine is I hear she has to improve in many subjects and that her concentration in the class is low. She gets distracted easily and her organizational skills needs improving. I know that in the long haul of life it is not what is important. I know that taking her strengths and giving them wings and boosting her self-confidence and her belief in her abilities is the key to her success and more than that her happiness. I know that and I tell her that all the time, and still I have these moments that my own upbringing’s voice speaks up inside me.

What does she excel at? Arts and outside the box thinking. She is super creative and extremely kind. Always trying to help anyone she can. She loves animals and nature. She always stands up for friends that are bullied and always care if someone in school had their feelings hurt. What more can I ask? Right? But these things are not measured, they are not on her report card. I have to remind her that school report cards don’t always measure our kid’s special gifts.

When she finished first grade, and had a teacher that did not see her special gifts, only the areas she was struggling with. I was worried her motivation for school and more importantly her self-image will take a blow. So on the last day of school I made her another report card. From mom, telling her how truly special she is, marking all her strengths and how proud I am for the hard work and the progress she is making in school. I enrolled her to after school art class and took her horse-riding on a weekly basis.

Luckily after two years, she got a new teacher, that does see her, and although the school still doesn’t mark her strengths as important, she feels valued in class by her teacher and that makes all the difference. We as parents can encourage different capabilities and intelligences in our kids. We can help them find their individual strengths and embrace them. When we use our personal strengths we are happy we feel motivated we feel at home.

Sometimes kids don’t acknowledge their individual strengths or don’t view them as valuable. It is important to help them see that a support them. We all have our individual gifts and I believe they are the key to our success but most of all our happiness. This is why I have set aside a section of books that teach our kids (and us) just that.

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