I Was Thinking…
My friend and retired CEO of Primerica, John Addison is a big believer in ‘Focusing on Your Strengths’. He writes, “There’s a passage in the Bible that says, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) But exactly what is that “way they should go”?
A lot of parents interpret this passage to mean that you should raise your kids in a strict way, following the path you set for them, being well-behaved, doing all things you as parents believe they should do. But that’s not really what it means. If you study it in the original Hebrew, what Solomon is saying is not to teach your child to be a good person, or to be obedient, or anything like that. He’s saying, find in that child his or her unique talents. Train your children up in the way ‘they’ should go---not necessarily in the way you ‘think’ they should go.
Every tree is going to try and grow toward the sun, but as they do, some will lean this way, some that way. Each one finds its own unique pattern of growth. Children are the same way. As a parent, your job is to be a student of your children and help them find what they’re naturally good at…To help them find that unique spark within them and fan it into full flame.” (Real Leadership, Pp. 76-77)
This is not only great insight for parenting, it is also great insight for life. We can’t be excellent at everything. To discover our passions and thus our motivations is a worthy life-changing exercise. I see too many people who, it seems, are merely existing through this life. They have very little motivation and passion. I see it in the world, and I see it in the church. It is sad but true, too many people simply ‘go through the motions’ of life without any real purpose or meaning. It is no wonder we struggle with depression in record numbers.
I love Addison’s formula for success: “Find something you’re good at without trying hard—and then try hard.” (P.78)
It was Jesus who said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything…you are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 NRSV)