Helping Children Lead With Their Strengths




It’s that time of the year, where the holiday buzz is getting big again.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m the Spirit Lady on and off the school court, so I’m all about holiday fun, but what I’m trying to do differently this year is really turn the season into an opportunity for my children and those around me to put their true strengths in action, instead of waiting on just presents or the big day to define what makes this time of year so great.

A few weeks back we decided to have a family pot luck dinner, it included all of our nieces, nephews, grandparents.  The theme of the dinner was “makers”, so the fact that we all had strengths and talents, were expected to bring those talents along that night in the form of a handmade gift for someone picked in advance.

I have to say it was fabulous, the youngest of the group created an outstanding water colour , my nephew his first cake from scratch, lucky me, and everything from handpainted ornaments to squash soup was exchanged.  Why does this matter?  Well besides being told it was more fun than Christmas by many, it gave each and everyone of the young people in our group a huge sense of accomplishment.  The fact that they’re item was going to be seen by not only the chosen person but everyone else in our family/community meant that others were going to really “see” them and what they were capable of.  Not only was it a night full of surprises but most important you could see the pride and accomplishment written on every face.  We are by nature “makers”, if you know me you’ll know I’ve written about the importance of this before, but beyond the physical ability to use our strengths is also the knowledge that we are capable beings who come with elements that others also see as valuable.

Research has shown again and again when people, and particularly young people, give back in a way that highlights their strengths and is community facing, the level of learning, impact and self esteem that transpires is out of this world.  Suddenly they experience how their gifts can make a real difference.

Two days ago I launched another community facing event for students through a local dance studio called Dance Effect, lets see if you can get your young people to join in as well.  It’s a holiday kindness initiative that doesn’t require any money and very little time.  You take a few post it notes, write positive messages, like you’re fabulous, smile it looks great on you, or something about the holidays, and then anonymously leave them for others to find in public spaces.  If you get your student to take a picture we’re posting to #holidaylovebomb on various streams.

Helping them lead with their strengths sometimes just means showing them that their strength is in the ability to take actions and that the greatest gift they have is the ability to give their natural talents to others in some small way.    Happy Holidays.

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