Fostering strengths in our children can be one of the most important, most difficult endeavors those of us who are parents can do. Marcus Buckingham tells a story about his reaction to finding out that his son wasn’t a master at drawing and how he – even as someone who has devoted his life to encouraging strengths – was immediately compelled to find a way to help his son improve his weakness in this area. As parents, we see room for improvement and sometimes get a little crazy with all we can do to “help” – tutors, lessons, camps, drills, and so on.
Newsflash: our children cannot be the best at everything.
We know this, right? Yet we want to see them produce straight As, become a sports captain, play the cello, and show perfect manners, too.
If you have more than one child, you probably have noticed that they are pretty different from one another. In our family, this couldn’t be truer. I’ll spare them the embarrassment of their mother publicly listing their strengths and weaknesses, but will tell you that one of them has bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s because of this that the video below really struck a chord with me – and with him as we watched it together.
In the beginning of Cameron Herold’s TEDx talk, he describes how he won a speech contest in 2nd grade and wasn’t given any support to reinforce that strength – though he did go on to become a highly rated lecturer at MIT. Conversely, when he “sucked at” French, he was given a tutor. And now, as an entrepreneur, he hires out what he isn’t good at so he can focus on what his strengths are.
Maybe your child won’t be an entrepreneur, or a lawyer for that matter. Whatever they become, it will be as a result of what was encouraged, nurtured and allowed to grow. It will also be the result of what was discouraged and squashed. We, along with other significant adults in their lives, are the people who will do that for them, to them. In any event, our children will be better served if we find ways to help them discover their own strengths so that they can feel strong in what they choose for a career path.
Even if it means that they won’t go to college, or take over the family business, or be whatever it is that you do as a profession. It’s got to be their dream, not yours.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Cameron Herald: Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs