Dad, Your Child is You-nique!

Every child is born with a unique blend of strengths and characteristics. Don’t see your child as a blank slate awaiting your pen, but as a written book awaiting your study.

What is the S-T-O-R-Y of your child?

1.  What is their Strength? Master pianist Van Cliburn, at the age of two, could pick out a song on the piano simply as a result of listening to lessons going on in the adjacent room. His mother spotted this and, as a result, gave him daily lessons. The little kid from Kilgore, Texas won the International Tchaikovsky Piano competition in Moscow. Why? Because a parent spotted a skill and strengthened it.[1]

2. What Topics turn their heads? Numbers? When are they delightfully lost in a project? John Ruskin said, “Tell me what you like and I’ll tell you who you are.” [2]

3. What is their Optimal setting?  Pine trees need a different soil than oak trees. A cactus thrives in a different environment than a rosebush does. What about the soil and the environment of your child? Some kids love to be noticed. Others prefer to be hidden in the crowd. Some relish deadlines and challenges. Others need ample preparation time and help. We each have a different optimal setting.

4. How about Relationships? When it comes to people, what phrase best describes your child?

  • “Follow me, everyone.”
  • “I’ll let you know if I need some help.”
  • “Can we do this together?”

The loner is not necessarily aloof; the crowd-seeker is not always lacking focus. They may be living out their story. In which environment does your child flourish? And, when do they say:

5. “Yes!”  What gives them satisfaction and pleasure? Do they love the journey or the goal? Do they like to keep things straight or straighten things out? What thrills one person bothers another. The Apostle Peter liked to keep the boat steady while Paul was prone to rock it.

Strength. Topic. Optimal setting. Relationships. Yes!  What S-T-O-R-Y is God writing with your child? God doesn’t give parents manuscripts to write, but codes to decode. Study your kids while you can. The greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches but to reveal to them their own.

(adapted from Cure for the Common Life, ©2005, Max Lucado)


[1] Howard Reich, Van Cliburn:  A Biography (Nashville: Thomas, 1993), quoted in Hillman, The Soul’s Code, 70.

[2] John Ruskin,