A Note to Dads: Uncover and Discover Their Gifts
For the first 12 to 14 years of life, I believe you should regularly tell each of your kids, “Son…daughter…you can do anything you set your mind to.” That kind of statement helps them see the unlimited nature of the universe and challenges them to consider the many options they have to serve the Creator of that universe.
But as the high-school years approach, you’ll want to change your encouragement strategy. About that time, they begin to realize they cannot literally do anything they set their mind to. Doors start to close. And that’s okay. Young teens are the ones doing the closing. At that age, my daughter knew she was not going to be the next Monet. At that age, my older son knew he wasn’t going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright. At that age, self-aware kids begin to realize they’re just not cut out for certain careers.
All of this means they are beginning to discern their true gifts and abilities. And Dad, that’s when you can turn to a wonderful passage of Scripture that calls them to identify those gifts and commit to them with diligence and excellence. Romans 12:6-8:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
The promise found in this verse is quite useful for those seasons when your child is feeling giftless. And especially when they start comparing themselves to other kids or siblings with more outgoing and obvious talents. The first four words confirm that “we have different gifts.”
It can be quite a fulfilling adventure for a father to join his child as they try new things and explore new worlds in that quest to uncover and discover their unique and valuable gifts.
That’s also when you can start saying, “Son…daughter…I can’t wait to see how God uses your gift of (fill in the blank).”
“We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:10
Jay Payleitner is a radio producer, popular speaker and author of ten books including 52 Things Daughters Need from Their Dads and One-Minute Devotions for Dads. For more, go to jaypayleitner.com.