At the national Chick-fil-A conference I attended a couple of months ago, author Tim Elmore dished out some very interesting information about what he calls the iY Generation, those children born between 1991 and 2002. I also bought his excellent book—Generation iY.
While it may be tough to digest, in one chapter of his book, Tim addresses the lies we’ve told, at least implicitly, to the iY Generation. Lies that can hurt our children. I’m going to summarize and share five of them with you; one each Monday for the next five weeks. Here’s the first one.
Lie #1. “You Can Be Anything You Want to Be.”
Parents, teachers and coaches say it. I’m sure Susan and I have said it a few times to our kids. Now, in all fairness to us parents, our intention is not to lie…that word may be a bit too much. We say it because we want to encourage them, pump them up. We want them to dream big. But the problem is that when we tell them they can do anything, we may be setting them up to future discouragement. I wonder how many of the kids who audition for American Idol were told by someone they could sing well when, in reality, they couldn’t hold a tune if their life depended on it.
The truth is, none of us can be anything or do anything we want. I can tell you, without a doubt in my mind, that I’ll never play in the NBA. It’s not in my genes.
We all have strengths or gifts. So why not affirm our children in the areas where they are truly gifted? Starting at a very young age, Susan and I watched each of our kids and validated them in their gifts. For example, we noticed at a very young age that our oldest daughter Megan had the uncanny ability to “read” and “size up” people very quickly. She is very good in relationships. We validated that in her. She now wants to work in human resources after she graduates from college next year.
What is your child’s area of giftedness? Are you validating your child in his or her gifts?