Family

Overscheduled Kids, Stressed Parents? There Is a Better Way.

My husband and I are peculiar parents by today’s standards. We don’t put our children in a million activities and then shuttle them from place to place all week. We love our kids, just as I’m sure the parents who run their children everywhere.

We just have a unique perspective, which I’ve shared previously.

We're running in so many directions, all the time. I just want my kids to have every opportunity to be successful, but we're so tired!

NOW WHAT?

If we’re not going to run around like headless chickens, putting our kids in tons of activities, how will we know their natural bent?

That’s the question isn’t it? The one on every parent’s mind, believer or not. How is my son wired? What are my daughter’s talents and how do I discover them?

ASK THE REP

If you brought a new car home and had questions about its features and capabilities, what would you do? You wouldn’t call a mechanic because he didn’t build the car. Maybe you’d look in the manual since it answers basic questions.

But, if you wondered about something not specifically covered in the manual, your next move would be the 800 number. The person on the other end of the line’s sole purpose is to tell you whatever you need to know about your vehicle.

Well, the Bible is the manual for all things life. Its verses contain practical insight relevant to any child. I can’t tell you how many verses in the book of Proverbs have one of my children’s initials next to them!

Holy Spirit, help me understand this child the Lord gave me. I don't want to just do what everyone else is doing. I want to support his gifts and talents.

But there are specific insights about my kiddos that aren’t addressed in the pages of Scripture. That’s when I call the 800 number, the Authorized Representative of the Manufacturer—the Holy Spirit.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13

He’s the teacher Jesus promised us. And, He’ll give you knowledge in real time—if you ask Him. That priceless wisdom beats throwing a bunch of activities at your kids and seeing what sticks, doesn’t it? Or worse, following what you see “everyone else” doing with their kids.

AWESOME WONDER

There’s nothing random about your child. God created him (Psalm 139:13-15) on purpose, with purpose. And what God’s got planned is GOOD, trust Him. So, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your son’s wired. Take note of what he’s drawn to and invest there.

No point in wasting money on saxophone lessons if your son beats on everything resembling a drum or draws amazing pictures.

Contrary to popular opinion, you have time to observe your child. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a phenomenon that has no place in the life of a believer. Jesus will supply the opportunities for your child to exercise her God-given gifts—no matter how “late” they’re discovered.

ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY

You don’t have to put her in a sport as soon as she’s walking. Let her be a kid and prayerfully observe her patterns. Is she always in the kitchen inventing concoctions? Consider cooking classes. Does she love building with blocks? STEM classes may interest her. Can she outrun all the kids in the neighborhood? Then register her for a season of track and see where it leads.

But she doesn’t need to be in all three. And if she weren’t in any, that’s fine too. You can start small, exposing her to online lessons to gauge interest.

Enjoy discovering your child.

FOLLOW THE LEADER

And just because you see a talent doesn’t mean that’s the time to go full force. Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead, since some things are a matter of maturity and temperament.

Our oldest fell in love with playing drums at a year old. And he has a great ear for beats, but a few years and three busted drum sets in, we realized his raw talent needed direction! We tried lessons, but he didn’t want to learn scales. He just wanted to haul off and play what he felt.

But you know what we noticed at the same time? Hours upon hours and days upon days of practicing his jump shot in the backyard. He gets it honest (my husband is known for his ball handling skills in New England).

So, that’s what we sowed into because he had natural skill and seemed passionate about it. Sure, we could’ve stressed ourselves out taking him to basketball practice and music lessons, but busy doesn’t equal productive. The Holy Spirit always leads you into fruitfulness.

God created your child on purpose with purpose. Why not focus your efforts and invest in that?

SOW WISELY

Invest your time and money where a harvest is likely, where you’ve already seen promising signs.

When you’re confident God has a good plan for your children, you’re free to see how He’s uniquely gifted them. Then you’ll support purposeful activity while maintaining your sanity, because you don’t have anything to prove to yourself or the parents around you. Meanwhile, your child enjoys spare time just being a kid!

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