Bury, Boast, or Build Your Personal Strengths?
Third in a four-part series on parenting from your strengths
Differences divide families today as never before. A large percentage of homes are filled with conflict, isolation, brokenness, or crisis – and Christians are not immune.
Fortunately, new generations understand the value of the family as our social unit. Of those born after the mid-1980s, 61% say family comes first in their list of what’s important, ahead of friends, education, careers and religion. Even in the midst of turmoil, the desire for a healthy family is strong – many times because today’s parents were not raised in a healthy environment.
You’ll recall how Rob and Kate (from our previous articles) struggled to work together to parent their children. The couple committed themselves to finding a common reference point in parenting and discovered how three segments work together to give them reliable information: God’s Word, their individual strengths as a parent, and their children’s unique, God-given strengths.
With a commitment to look to God’s Word as their true north in parenting, Rob and Kate were ready to take another step to understanding the second key set of coordinates in the Global Parenting System: their natural, personal strengths.
Why Focus On Strengths?
From your conception God has had a guiding hand in determining who you are and what you’ll grow up to be like. You are God’s unique creation. And you did not just end up in relation to others by chance. God placed you right where He wanted you to be, both in your spiritual family and your natural family. Further, He sets you around the very people who need you and whom you need as well. 1 Corinthians 12:18 says, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (NIV).
Rob and Kate took a “true north” reading from that passage and then set about to identify their unique strengths. (You can discover your personal strengths by taking a simple, 10-minute online strengths assessment.) The couple found that each of them brought a different perspective and different skills to the parenting equation. As they moved away from focusing on their differences, Rob and Kate discovered that their diversity provided completion and wholeness.
Bury or Boast?
When presented with the opportunity to use your individual strengths in parenting, you may be confused by these two common misconceptions.
- Misconception #1: “Bury your strengths.” You may mistakenly believe that leading from your strengths represents weakness. Rather than concentrate on using what comes naturally well, you may feel compelled to dwell the things you don’t do well in your parenting.
- Misconception #2: “Boast about your strengths.” You may have been led to think that as a parent, your strengths should demand center stage even to the exclusion of others’ strengths. That attitude can fuel human pride and lead to control and manipulation.
Yet the biblical truth, as compared with these misconceptions, is far different.
Whatever strengths you possess have been woven into your life by God to reflect His glory. Naturally, you must face your weaknesses head on and seek to overcome them. Yet it’s not a sin to use your strengths to serve your family. In fact, to bury your gifts is condemned in scripture, for in doing so you deny both the uniqueness in how God made you and the power of God working through you.
To boast in your strengths, too, is contrary to God’s Word. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being” (NIV). Your strengths are a gift from God, not your doing. To appropriate their origin as your own handiwork is to attempt to steal the credit from Him.
The Truth about Parenting From Your Strengths
Ultimately, the goal of knowing our strengths is to use them to “care for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:25). A healthy parent understands his uniqueness and uses it to care for family members and build them up. Rather than bury your strengths or boast in them, you can choose to use them to build your family. The motivation is selfless, not selfish.
Rob and Kate discovered that God had equipped each of them with specific strengths in order to care for and build up their children. Rob’s bent for structure equipped their children to be organized. Kate’s spontaneity became a vehicle for their children to develop their creativity.
Soon, the couple would also learn how their children’s strengths were a God-given blessing that would build even stronger connections within their family. But for now, Rob and Kate are demonstrating the mark of wisdom and godly living by following their “true north” … and then understanding their strengths in order to serve their family.
You can follow those points on the Global Parenting System, too.
More on Parenting From Your Strengths
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 1: How a GPS Can Help You Be a Better Parent
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 2: How a Parent Finds “True North”
Parenting From Your Strengths, Part 4: The Benefits of Knowing Your Child’s Bent