I raised my kids with a group of other young parents in our church. We shared our frustrations as well as our joys. Mostly we helped each other brainstorm solutions to troubling issues with our kids, or support each other while we endured what we couldn’t change.
One idea we often came back to is, “What would this look like with the added benefit of maturity?”
Here’s what I mean.
We all have our style of interacting with the world. However, as a kid, we have no finesse or restraint when utilizing that style. Kids can seem bossy, irritatingly persistent, hyperactive or drama queens. Ask yourself if you know someone else who can be somewhat like that, but more grown-up about it. The bossy kid can become a CEO. What seemed compulsive can become the single minded focus of a scientist or an artist. Hyperactive kids can be the force behind fun and enthusiasm. Picture the drama queen as a motivational speaker or academy award winner.
We all have a feature of ourselves that is, at the same time, our greatest asset and our potential downfall. Either it is driving us or we are driving it. It’s just like learning to drive a car. At first we have no clue and are basically just dangerous. As we learn how to handle it, it becomes such a useful tool, taking us wherever we want to go.
When you see a characteristic in a young person that concerns you, don’t necessarily try to stamp it. Help them develop the maturity to use that characteristic skillfully.