Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When Strengths Hide It's Time To Go Seek

My Elyse is  absolutely precious. If you have met her you likely know this already. We got lucky with this one for sure.

She is always so very helpful, and when she goes above and beyond I have been known to throw a little cash her way.

This spring break was such a time. She went out of her way to help out around the house and so I gave her a little bit of spending money. This led to a slightly uncomfortable conversation with her, not so much younger brother.

Isaiah wanted to know why the money, and then why her and not him, and then how she was any more helpful than he was... Oy vey, and a slew of other interjections!

How to explain in careful words how very unhelpful your son is?! How when I ask you to do something (that isn't an order just a, "hey would  you mind") you readily say, "no thanks!" How I don't count that as favorably obliging. How your standard of the absolute bare minimum is not what I look at and think, "wow...well done!"

But I tried, I had that difficult conversation. I think he caught on. He reminded me a very few instances where he did indeed lend a hand (all of which, on my mental calculator, added up to about a dimes worth). I could tell that, though he got what I was saying, and maybe even agreed somewhat, he was feeling kind of worthless and I was feeling kind of shamed. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how he was worth less because he did less yet still manage to be my same amazing kid! He wasn't bad! He wasn't doing anything wrong, wasn't breaking any rules, ignoring any orders. Elyse deserved her money, no doubt, it was well earned. But then again, it is her strength. She has a servants heart and she is compassionate to the bone. If she can sense I am not feeling well she will do anything she can to make life easier for me. If I am tied up with one chore, she will run to take care of another one for me. I love this about her. It is her gift, her calling even, and it is so in my face all the time, smoothing my way, taking a load off my shoulders. It can't be missed. Isaiah has amazing strengths as well. So does Elijah, and also Hannah. I could burn up my key board listing them all.

Because Isaiah's gifts don't always lend themselves to relieving my stress, they sometimes go unnoticed, under appreciated. I decided right then and there to take a few moments to encourage him in those very things, to praise him and tell him what a blessing he is. I am not sure if money is the way to go. Monetary compensation for hard work is an age old practice, that makes sense. Money just for being cool... I am not so sure about. But I can certainly find ways honor this little man's pursuit of the talents God has given him.

He is courageous, more so than any young man I know. Though he struggles with embarrassment over his Tourette's and compulsions, he strives to make others comfortable with it. He chooses to believe the very best about people. Where some would feel mocked and bullied he gives the benefit of the doubt, and calls it curious. He possesses a quiet and watchful spirit. He listens, observes, is slow to react.

Isaiah's strengths may not stand out and force me to take notice. Often times our children's (or husband's) gifts may need to be sought out, brought out, and had their time in the spot light. Sometimes they are hidden away, other times they may be messy and even a little less convenient, like with my Elijah, the relentless inventor. But they are all deserving of our recognition and praise, and maybe some creative form of compensation if you think it is fitting. In any case please learn from my mistakes, be careful not to let the strengths that bolster your own life over shadow those that don't. They will be somebody else's pillar one day and the less cracks the better.


1 comment:

  1. EXCELLENT!!! Tell Isaiah the check is in the mail. LOL I will be looking for ways to make him feel special though. You have inspired me to make it a goal to encourage all my grands.


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