Nurturing Our Children’s Gifts and Helping Them Find Their Purpose

Nurturing Our Children’s Gifts and Helping Them Find Their Purpose

Mark’s Story

When our son Mark was 10 years old, he started showing a strong interest in local politics. Because of this, my husband Mike arranged for him to go door to door with us and advocate for a particular congressman we were supporting. Mark asked Mike if he could come to the congressman’s headquarters to volunteer, so Mike brought him and Mark was allowed to stuff envelopes. He asked one day if he could make phone calls like the adult volunteers. The amused field director said yes, and Mark went on to call people at home to encourage them to vote for the congressman! Many people who answered their phones, concealing their laughter, asked just exactly how old Mark was. They loved it so much that a 10-year old was making a political call!

We bought Mark books on politics, including biographies of famous political and historical figures. When he was 15 and just finished with his freshman year of high school, we encouraged him to take advantage of an offer to intern for a California assemblyman in our state capitol. Mark worked for our political party’s national committee in Washington, D.C.. I believe that it has been the right thing to encourage Mark to “go deep” into an area he has been interested in for over half his life.

He just graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master’s of Philosophy degree that will permit him to continue to explore his interest in politics. Never in 1,000 years did I dream that my precious little boy who couldn’t read, write, tie his shoes, or make friends (due to severe dyslexia and other special needs) would get a graduate degree from Oxford! And I think a big part of it was that no matter how hard school was because of Mark’s learning disabilities, my husband and I always believed in him and nurtured his interests and passions. I’m so grateful that we could afford to.

Three Primary Foundations of Character

As caregivers, we need to watch our children carefully for signs of passion about certain areas. As much as possible, we need to foster that passion and build our children’s character. The foundations of character, which help our children achieve their utmost potential and maximize their contributions to the world, are threefold:

  1. finding vision and purpose in life through serving others
  2. persevering when the going is rough
  3. maintaining a spirit of gratitude throughout it all

Nurturing Our Children’s Gifts

Experts agree that each human being comes into the world with their own purpose or divine “spark.” The late great personal development expert Dr. Wayne Dyer said that we all come into the world with our own music to play.  Regardless of our religious beliefs, I think all caregivers can agree that our primary job is to help our children find their inner “spark,” develop their own interests, gain a vision for their lives, and achieve their highest potential in order to have lifetime success. Click below for practical ideas:

When  we find something that sparks unusual interest, we need to geek out on it—go deep. It’s okay to obsess about something! To that end, I’ll never forget what happened with Mark in 3rd grade. Having severe dyslexia had caused him to hate reading. But one day, our local Orangevale Rotary brought colorful, attractive dictionaries to the third-grade classes at Mark’s school.

He loved reading about the U.S. presidents in the dictionary’s appendix. He’d ask me to read with him about each president and summarize his major accomplishments. Who was he? What was he known for? Sometimes I read aloud from the presidents’ biographies. Together we learned about each president and discussed why each one was deemed to be a success or failure. It filled my heart with joy to see Mark so interested in the dictionary and show enthusiasm for a book!

My husband Mike would engage in serious discussions with our son, talking with him like a miniature adult. Together they would discuss local news and politics, analyzing reasons for why things were happening. I am so grateful that my husband stepped in during this very critical, formative phase of Mark’s life to nurture his interests and passions. What I know about politics could fit into a tiny teacup!

For more tips about helping our children find purpose and explore their passions, check this out: