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feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird yourself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward you shall eat and drink? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were com- manded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:7- 10).

Most people today are not interested in going above and beyond, preferring instead to do as little as possible. Many are now perfectly willing to do sloppy, slipshod work, no matter the waste or cost to the company, because they are in a hurry to finish—with so many always looking ahead to the next thing that will be “fun.”

Not only should your children be willing to go the extra mile, but they should always be willing to do it with joy, zeal and enthusi- asm—from the heart! Regardless of the problems they are facing, do not let them mope or moan about “how hard” things are or how hard their life is. Remind them that things could always be harder—and probably will get harder at times later in life.

Help Your Children Discover Their Talents and Interests

Some people live their entire lives unaware of what their strengths are, or worse, believing that they have none. Most often, this has been because no one helped them discover these talents, and they did not know how to do this themselves. While this book can only scratch the surface of the subject, it should at least inspire you to see that you can greatly encourage and inspire your children if you help them see the natural talents that they were born with. If tapped, apart from the importance of their relationship with God, these qualities offer them the greatest chance for fulfillment and happiness.

Think of it this way: Almost every human being has strengths and weaknesses. There are virtually no exceptions to having some talents and absolutely no exceptions to having certain weaknesses. One of your tasks is to help your child discover his or her God-given abilities, talents and interests. For instance, your child may be ex- tremely gifted in a particular area or way, and this gift could be something that has never before appeared in your family. Be on the lookout for such gifts, and do not squash them when you see them

Where Teaching the Basics Begins


simply because you have never seen these particular talents or abili- ties before or because they are not your strengths. On the other hand, do not decide that you see talents that are not really there. Be careful that you do not try to remake your child in your own image. You are a unique human being, unlike any other person on the face of the earth.

So is your child! Consider for a moment your own strengths and interests, re- gardless of how you came to know of them. What if your parents, teachers, coaches or employers had never taken an interest in your potential, or worse, actively sought to quash these interests? What if you had never been able to discover and develop them? How differ- ent would your life have been? Would you be in the same career or even close to the level of happiness that you have been able to en- joy? The answer is almost certainly not.

The other side of the coin is that it is possible that your mentors did not encourage you to develop your strengths, and to become all that you could have. If this is the case, avoid doing the same with your children. You can yet thrill to the realization of a success in their development that you never had, and this will be a REWARD un- like any other a parent can enjoy!

Do your children have an interest in music, art, science, mathe- matics, sports, model-making, stamp-collecting, horticulture, ani- mals, reading, rock-climbing or a host of other things? Strive as hard as you possibly can to recognize and nurture these interests. ASK your children what they enjoy. Observe and talk to them. Try to dis- cern where they may and may not be naturally talented and where their interests lie. Try to be supportive in a balanced way, also not allowing them to quit simply because the early going in a particular sport or activity is tough, when this is always the case in any new endeavor.

Set Limits

Of course, costs can create certain limits—skydiving?!, deep-sea fishing?!—and children cannot pursue every sport, every hobby, ev- ery musical instrument, every activity—and every dream—that they may have. Obviously, everything in life has a reasonable and natural limit. Teach your children this principle and to be able to find this limit on their own, in everything that they do. They must also under-

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