“You can’t raise any two kids the same,” I’ve always heard, and I always attributed it to the fact that each child is different, and the same tactics will not necessarily be successful due to the personality differences of the children. But now, in my forties versus my twenties, I mother my last child a lot differently than I did my first – not just due to how SHE is different from her siblings, but how I am different.
With the first, I had a VISION of what I wanted my little girl to become. I planned long and hard to figure out how I could maneuver the universe to help me mold my little girl into the young lady I wanted. Three kids and twenty years later, I am happy to report they (and old age) have broken me of that habit. I no longer try to “sculpt” a child, but instead try to evaluate & ask, “What is (this) child’s strengths? How is (this) child inclined? And what sports/careers/etc suit that?” I would like to say child rearing has gone a lot smoother since that transition – largely, it has, but then came our ADD, learning “dis”ability kid. The kind of kid you have to tell 5 times to put his shoes on, who still puts his shorts on backward, and has to struggle so much it is painful just to write a sentence. But he’s also the kid who cries at the heart-wrenching part of the movie, breaks into an English accent at random, and can tell you anything you ever want to know about any animal. Seriously. However, in a weak moment, I worried about my child. In a world where college is King, “what would become of my boy?” I wondered, as I watched him make faces in the mirror. And that’s when it hit me “making faces (acting) might be his slingshot.”
I had just read the story (AGAIN) of David and Goliath to my littles, and laughed when I thought of how it might have been to raise young David. He was the runt, and not even considered “important enough” to be called among the seven sons when the prophet Samuel went to his father Jessie’s house to anoint the next King. He was tending sheep, which was considered one of the lowliest of jobs then. I pictured his father standing at the door, perhaps watching his son occasionally, shaking his head and wondering what would ever become of his scrawny youngest – too lean and small to ever even think of becoming a strong farmer, much less a mighty warrior. “Just look at him, honey, all little and unskilled…And all he ever does is play with that blasted slingshot!”
The very thing that his father found little use for – maybe even annoyed him – was the very venue through which God would bring the victory to his people.
Keep your eyes open for your child’s “slingshot”. It may just be his salvation.
[April Estes lives in Knoxville and discovered her son’s slingshot was performing: magic, acting, singing…despite the dyslexia]