Ever since my oldest sister had her three children (my niece and two nephews), our family reunions have undergone a few changes. Where once they featured board games, quiet dinners, and long trips into the city, they now mostly consist of tripping over Hot Wheels, hearing why Elsa is the best Disney princess, and occasionally enjoying the latest virus my nephew infected us with. Now, I love my niece and nephews dearly, but children have never been my strong suit. I’ll usually retreat to some dark corner of the house and contemplate a life of celibacy, but my sister takes it all in stride. It’s no exaggeration when I say she’s one amazing mom who always finds a way to bring out the best in her children.
For a while, I had no idea how she did it. I’d leer down at her like the Grinch from his mountain and ponder how she got my niece to stop crying and start laughing. Then one day it hit me: she knew her children. As their mother, she understood their different personalities and knew how to cultivate the gifts within each of them. Jen Wilkin, a Christian speaker, writer, and teacher, had a similar epiphany while growing flowers outside her house.
Instead of trying to eradicate a child’s annoying personality, Wilkin believes parents should cultivate the spiritual gifts that accompany such traits. She writes,
“…every bloom cultivated in an orderly garden grows as a wildflower somewhere. Children’s untamed and sometimes frustrating personality traits are no different. Before you work to uproot them, consider whether behind that annoying trait is a strength waiting to be trained up. So often, the quality that manifests as a child’s greatest weakness holds the potential to be his greatest strength.”
Remember, parenting can be a tough job, but the love and guidance you instill in your child will last a lifetime.