Parenthood is a challenge in letting go, especially for mothers, and I know this from experience. We carry our child in the womb for nine months, give birth to and care for it, hoping and praying all goes well. After all the sweat and hard labor, we then muster the courage to send our little treasure to his or her first social circle: the preschool. This becomes our first lesson in handling separation anxiety.
However, before we do embark on this bittersweet journey, we, as parents, should try our best to equip our child emotionally. We do this by finding and nurturing their respective strengths and gifts. Luckily, these “inner strengths” develop early in life, enabling us to detect them firsthand. Helping them discover these attributes is one of the best gifts we could possibly bestow upon our children. Here are a few ways to find our children’s strengths and nurture them:
Stop, look, and listen. Parents are the best observers. Coupled with the trained eye of a teacher, we can take note of what our child is truly interested in.
After a few weeks in preschool, take time to ask the teachers what your child likes doing. Rather than planning his future this early (“I want my child to attend Harvard”), look at what he appears to be enjoying now instead. Watch what he likes playing with, whether he likes playing alone or with others. Does he like animals? Does he like stacking up wooden blocks or (God forbid) climbing furniture? Does he play endlessly with puzzles or use the crayons passionately?
Listen to his first few sentences. Usually they give us pictures of his interests. Also, tune in to what he fancies listening to: a certain instrument, musical tunes, or your singing. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to fill in his ears instead of listening TOGETHER with him.