Softball player Mark McGuire said, “When I feel the ball hit right on the sweet spot, a home run is just around the corner.” What is the 'sweet spot'? It is the specific aspect or point of an activity that generates the greatest result. In McGuire’s case it was right where the ball hit the bat.
How can we find that sweet spot in our kids? What approach will bring out the very best in them? Think about your own childhood. What or who brought out the best in you? Did you have a favorite teacher who knew just how to get the best work from you? How did he/she do it? Was there an activity such as sport, art or math that you thought you were hopeless at, and yet, with just the right technique, someone showed you not only how to do it, but how to excel? Are there times in your life where you have exceeded your own expectations beyond your wildest dreams? How did that happen? Perhaps it was a realization – an ‘ah-ha’ moment that made all the difference.
It never entered my head that I could excel at school or get to the point of attending university. In fact, my own father told me we were ‘not that kind of people!’ Shortly after getting married we went to a University town in New Zealand so that my husband could complete his Bachelors degree. While there I became a nurse undergraduate tutor. When I saw the number of other tutors completing degrees part time, I thought, ‘If you can do it, then so can I’. It took me some time to complete the degree because I was working, managing a family and studying at the same time. What a thrill it was to walk that stage to pick up my degree. My father was in the audience! What made me take up the challenge? The realization that I had just as many brains as all those other tutors. I just needed the faith in myself to give it a try. For me it was an ‘ah-ha’ moment! My sweet spot!
We are created with talents and potential skills to do the most amazing things, yet most of us never really reach our true potential. Our children need us to help them find their passion, their sweet spot. So, what do we do? From the time our children are toddlers we can observe what they seem to be most interested in, what they are passionate about or be amazed by the natural skills they exhibit. Once we discover these talents we need to encourage our child to develop those things. When they start school we should observe where they shine. We need to get them into activities that will enhance their talents even further. The important thing is not to try and push our kids into activities they are not suited to. If it isn't working for them, try something else. We need to be encouraging and not unrealistic. The expectations we have for our children need to be high, but not crushing. There is nothing worse than feeling we are never good enough.
When we demonstrate faith in our kids, they learn to have faith in themselves and their abilities. They become confident and happy teens and adults. Have you found your 'sweet spot' yet?
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