My nine year old son is at math camp this week. Yep, math camp. It wasn’t exactly the destination that he was hoping for but it is turning out great all the same. A surprise to me since he struggled a little early in his school career with math and a surprise to him because he has never considered himself one of the “brainy” kids – or as he puts it “Dad, I am not a nerd!” Well son, just like your dad, you are indeed a bit of a nerd – and it is a very good thing!
Turns out, he is just like me and he is very good with numbers. I have always been a bit of a math wiz and, of course as I got older, I found out that being good at math was a great skill to have.
It’s funny (and hugely rewarding) to see my son come into his own and realize that the A’s he gets in school are not a fluke. He really is a smart kid and I love the fact that his confidence is growing daily as he realizes his brain is powerful thing.
Encouraging the Strengths In Your Child
You just never know where your child will excel. It might be sports, academics, music, art, writing, performing… who knows!? But the one thing I know for certain is that positive reinforcement and encouragement is a must if you want your child to develop and nurture their skills. Whatever those skills might be. And when I say THEIR skills that is exactly what I mean. Not YOUR skills!
Too often us parents try to push our interests and ideas on our kids. I, for instance, was a big athlete when I was my son’s age. I played all kinds of sports and was very good. I obviously expected and hoped that my son would do the same but, as it turns out, he just has no interest at all in sports at this point in his life. It is actually funny how he couldn’t care less. He does love golf (mainly because I play) and surfing (it is the California, laid back side of him) but all the sports that his friends play he just has no desire to be a part of the game. And I am fine with that. We are both fine with that.
Encourage the strengths in your child. His interests are not about me, they are all about him. I have never pushed him toward anything. Instead, I encourage him to find what he enjoys and when he does excel at something, I jump on the bandwagon and eagerly help him pursue it. He is at the stage where he is finding his “stuff” and it is so empowering for a child to find a passion and go for it. He loves music and magic and dancing and drawing and so many other cool things. Things that are all his own.
Even if they don’t work out or don’t last forever, it doesn’t matter. Children making their own choices and failing on their own terms is hugely important for growth and maturity. Let your children find their way on their own and you will marvel at how independent and intelligent they become.
So, as both of us Youngblood Men marvel at the fact that math is the interest of choice right now, we also know that it will be something new next month, next year, next summer. No matter what it turns out to be, we will embrace it and I, as a proud and helpful dad, will encourage it. It is his time to shine and grow and whatever strength he shows, I will be there for him every step of the way.
Encourage the strengths in your child, tell them how proud you are of them, support their interests and skills. It doesn’t matter WHAT they do – it just matters that they enjoy it, they learn from it, and they take pride in the fact that it is their unique and personal journey!
Rob Youngblood is a Single Dad, Keynote Speaker, Life and Communication Coach, Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Writer, and Storyteller. Learn more about him at youngbloodlifeandstyle.com. You can also follow him on on Twitter.