Grandfamilies: Play to Their Strong Suits

PlannersThese Two Share A Bright Future As Strategists. Ayden and Cadence. May 31, 2009.

What would happen if we took all the energy we poured into helping our loved ones conquer their weaknesses, and instead focused on encouraging them to develop their strengths? My place of business is organized this way, and it isn’t a stretch to call it transcendent.

Can you see it? 

Your grandson who argues tirelessly would thrive on the debating team and has a bright future in law or advocacy. If he argues as a hobby, defuse the tension by asking him to list twenty arguments in favor of compulsory education, or scouting, or broccoli. Then ask for twenty arguments against it.

The niece who loves to play with legos and take apart dead toasters just might have the makings of an engineer. Pick up a blender at a yard sale, give her a set of screwdrivers, and watch the magic happen.

The grandlittle who is always at your elbow in the kitchen could be headed toward a future as a chef–or a chemist. A few fun experiments  could be a hit. (Make sure you keep a stock of baking soda. The best experiments always call for baking soda.)

These principles apply beyond the world of work, as well. Do you have a pair of competitive cousins among your grands? Organize a contest to see who can pick up the most toys. (If they’re both boys, you know they’re already checking to see who can pee the farthest, don’t you?)

Art supplies and journals are great gifts for the dreamy doodler in your family. Take it over the top by buying a box of glass markers and inviting the kids to draw on the windows.

You know the son-in-law that you just can’t quite warm up to? Pick out his best quality and love him for that. 

None of these suggestions is rocket science, but they can work little miracles in your family. Try it for a week or six and see. I promise you this: Playing to your loved ones’ strengths is a tension-eraser. Give it a try?

rabbit conga

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:6-8 (ESV)

rabbit conga

On Tuesdays, we’re talking about families and the joys and challenges that arise when we stretch across three (or more?) generations (child, parent, grandparent). The conversation began on January sixth and we’ll continue until we run out of things to say. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to hear each generation’s perspective.  Being family is by turns effortless, impossible, blessed, challenging, hurtful, joyous . . . . Let’s talk about it.

Please join us.


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