Step 1: YOU FIRST. Learn your own strengths. Then, learn the strengths of your spouse. Practice using the language of strengths in your home and spotting strengths in one another. The following are some practical ways to do spot strengths:
- Complement one another when you see strengths in action. Ask questions to understand what stimulates their strengths, and learn more about them.
- Create a flyer or poster that puts your strengths in front of you on a daily basis. Display the poster in a prominent place, such as the front of the refrigerator.
- Talk about strengths around the dinner table. Take turns sharing how you saw your strengths in yourself, and then spotting them in others in the family.
- Create affirmation post-it notes. Every time you spot one of your spouse’s strengths, put a post-it note somewhere they will see it.
By beginning to build this strengths-based culture in your marriage, transitioning to spotting strengths in your children will be much easier. Modeling a positive example will make your children want to be a part of this fun exercise.
Step 2: IDENTIFY PATTERNS. Learn the language of “Strengths Explorer” and VIA Character Strengths. These are assessments your children can take at about age 10. Until then, as you become more and more familiar with the terms, you can begin to see patterns in your children. The following are resources to help you:
- You can learn about Strengths Explorer from the “Strengths Based Parenting” book, or go to: strengthsexplorer.com
- You can learn about VIA Character Strengths at: viacharacter.org
- 10 Keys of Observing Gifts & Talents from “The Language of Blessing” by Joseph Cavanaugh, III
Step 3: STOP PROJECTING. Now that you are beginning to recognize that you AND your child are incredibly unique, you may discover that in some ways they are very similar to you. In other ways, they nothing like you! Begin asking yourself if your expectations of your child are founded or unfounded. Remember to nurture toward what is natural to them, and release them from being something they are not. For example, if you are neat and orderly but your child is creative and messy, instead of getting mad at their mess, simply come alongside them to help them do chores that create order. They may not be capable of doing this very easily on their own.
Step 4: NURTURE & STIMULATE. As you become familiar with strengths patterns and you begin to see them in your children, the next step is to stimulate those strengths and give your child new and novel ways to practice it. When you see the strengths in the moment, ask your child questions about what they are doing and what about that activity brings them joy. Are they organizing something? What do they like to organize? Things, people, activities? Ask them to show you their project and how they came up with it. What could you invite them to do with you or with others in the community that would help them use this talent?
Step 5: CONGRATULATE YOURSELF. You are now part of a movement that will create a young generation that is confident in who they are and their abilities!
Want to learn more about your strengths and those of your loved ones? Contact me to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org