Sounds good, right? What are some of the first things that come to mind?
Maybe you thought about skipping a grade, being named captain of a sports team, or if they have a job perhaps they were offered more money and responsibility.
Promotions sound great on the surface. Who doesn’t want to be recognized for their skills and hard work?
We need to ask ourselves an important question about promotion opportunities. Especially when it comes to our children.
Will this promotion lead toward God’s calling? Or will it require time and energy that moves us away from that?
My leadership team begins every week with a devotion. This week my lower school director shared a message about promotions that got me thinking.
My thoughts led to three things we need to do, as teachers and parents, to promote our child’s gifts.
But first, a story.
This weekend I had one of those – darn it, there goes my father-of-the-year award moments.
My wife was on call, so she wasn’t home. That was the beginning of my downfall now that I think about it. The boys and I get home from church and I go right into action plan mode. After all, my wife’s absence left me in charge of the honey do list.
We had spent the day Saturday taking apart our old play set in the backyard to give to a friend. My giant boys outgrew it. In fact, my youngest son is so tall, he got stuck in the twisty slide when he was 5 years old. It was terrifying trying to extract his long body from that plastic tube.
My oldest son wanted to help take it apart. He was so excited about giving it away. He has a big heart.
It has been a rainy spring in South Carolina and we FINALLY had a nice day. Both of my boys play baseball. And on any nice day, we go out to train. Taking apart the play set took longer than expected, so I decided to give them the rest of the day off.
Fast forward back to Sunday.
I’m scurrying about so we can get outside to hit baseballs when my oldest son comes into the kitchen and announces he wants to sell lemonade in the front yard.
Okay, full disclosure – I can’t stand yard sales. Sitting outside on a beautiful day to sell stuff is one of the last things I want to do.
I launch right into the economics of the cost/benefit ratio of selling lemonade. There is not much traffic on our street. It’s Sunday, people are out to eat. Etc.
My son listens and agrees. I can tell he was a little discouraged, so I decided to take a step back and exercise one of the 7 habits of highly effective people – seek first to understand.
I ask, “Why do you even want to sell lemonade, anyway?”
“I just want to make people smile,” he replies.
I’m feeling about three feet tall now. I thought he wanted to make money and needed an economics lesson. The boy just wanted to make people smile.
Sunday afternoon I was preparing to help my son improve his batting average and defense in the corner outfield after teaching him a valuable economics lesson that could help him manage his time and money better.
If I had stopped to listen to the message, not just the words, I would have heard the Holy Spirit prompting me to guide my son down the path the Lord had already laid out for him 11 years ago when I first gazed into those beautiful blue eyes of his.
I started thinking about another one of those 7 habits. Start with the end in mind.
Who does my son remind me of and how did that young man develop his gifts?
I lead an awesome school full of some pretty remarkable young people. As I thought about it, I immediately thought of one of our seniors – a goofy, tender-hearted young man with a big smile and an even bigger heart named Robert Caldwell.
Robert had just made front page news for his senior project. He started a non-profit to support local ministries.
Yes. You read that correctly. An 18 year-old high school senior started a business to support humanitarian efforts.Robert’s dad is a friend of mine and the president of a successful national company. No doubt Robert got some of his father’s business savvy.
However, what Robert received was so much more.
His parents recognized his gifts. They placed him in a school where his gifts would be nurtured and they supported his wacky, creative ideas.
While I know his dad would prefer his big-hearted son focus on traditional school stuff more at times, Robert’s parents provided him the love and support to grow in his gifts.
And that young man has made a difference in the world because of it.
How do we do it? How do we create those conditions that set our children on the path toward their calling?
It’s NOT always about the promotion opportunities that the world values. Such as test scores that lead to more homework.
I wonder if Robert would have grown into such a remarkable young man had his parents focused more on his standardized test reports and less on his creative mind and huge heart.
If we start with the end in mind, we gain valuable insight from Robert’s parents, Bob and Sarah.
Listen. Learn. Lead.
Listen to your child. Don’t just listen to her words; hear the message she is relaying to you. Her gifts exist inside of her already. Discover them.
Learn what motivates your child. Hear God’s voice speak to you when she gets excited about something. These are the seeds God planted in her heart that lead toward her calling.
Lead your child toward her calling. You are the best person to do that. You know your child. You know what she is capable of.
Create the conditions for promotion opportunities that will lead your children toward their calling. And be careful of the ones that won’t.