Todd and I work hard at really knowing our girls, encouraging their interests, and helping them embrace strengths and weakness in order to grow and learn through them. We are far from perfect parents, but, we are super purposeful in pursuing a relationship with them and I would say we know them quite well.
They are all 3 so different with different interests and ways of learning and doing things.
Example of Our Girl and Her Interests
Our Colsie is our middle child who is 16 and has several interests that make her unique. It is so fun to see her interests turn into pursuits as she gives her time to them. What a joy to see those pursuits become part of her story and to see how God uses them.
I think about the last few years and all that she has overcome, and my heart feels like it could burst. I’m so proud. There is so much beauty in watching your children walk through what life brings them, the good and the bad, and see them thrive. Yes, there is even beauty in their hard. I’ve always been able to see God bring beauty from ashes out of my own life, but to trust Him to do the same in my girls’ life is a whole new level of trust. I am learning.
When I see hardship mold my girls’ interests into something good, the learning comes easier.
Colsie took all of the guitar photos in this post. I love the eye she has for composition and her ability to edit photos is impressive. I have used this gift on the blog several times, and have even employed her this summer to edit photos and create pins for Pinterest. Her interests pursued turned into a job! So cool.
We have been purposeful in supplying the tools she needs (camera, lens, Photoshop, Lightroom, computer) and then give her space and time to self-motivate and create.
I am sitting in a downtown coffee shop while I type. My Colsie is outside the cafe window taking pictures of a very nice-looking (ahem) boy that she goes to school with and who saw her work and asked her to take some photos for him. They came in and showed me what she captured so far and they are amazing.
I’m so glad we put a camera in her hand 3 years ago and encouraged her to try photography. I’m so glad was interested! It is so fun to watch her (literally) use her gift.
Colsie loves people. The older she gets the more outgoing she becomes. She loves being around other people and gets frustrated when she has too much alone time, although quiet time is good for her too.
We have noticed her specific love for people with special needs. She has been purposeful in seeking out and building relationships with 2 special need kids in her youth group. This quiet leadership and care for others from our Colsie is an example of beauty from ashes. She understands what it is to feel different due to her sensory processing disorder. She uses that understanding to relate to others who might feel different, too.
We have talked to her about Occupational Therapy as a possible future job after she tested strong in this area on an occupations quiz, and it would give her the opportunity to work with special needs kids, which she is already passionate about.
I adore the gift of music that our Colsie has. Piano, ukulele, and guitar are her 3 instruments of choice. You can often find Colsie in her room (with the door shut because…teenagers!) with her pursuit of music drifting through house vents, door cracks and right into this Momma’s heart!
She is very talented musically. This is an area where understanding our girl, how she is wired and how she learns has been so important. Typical music lessons have not been what she needs. She needs space to learn at her own pace and in her own creative way.
The most convenient way we have found for her to do this is with her guitar and an online guitar lesson course called Fender Play. This guitar course is created by curriculum experts and the Fender guitar brand, which we love. It is a guided online learning program that walks new players down a learning path based on their musical preferences, which Colsie loves!
It is designed so that after a few short lessons, a player will be able to learn something new, whether it is a skill, a recognizable riff or a full song. All we had to do was provide the tools: guitar, amp (optional), and online lessons.
Customized curriculum based on musical preference is exactly the path that Colsie chooses to play.
I asked her what she loves most about it and here is what she has to say:
“My Fender guitar lessons online are very easy to use. I love the layout of the site and the people in the videos explain things well. I’ve told my friends who are interested in learning guitar to check out Fender Play. I’ve learned more strumming patterns and how to correctly do them, as well as more songs that I can play for my friends and family. It’s cool!”
Learning music that SHE prefers is my favorite part of Fender Play. This has been key to her learning style and keeps the fun in learning.
If you want to learn more about online guitar lessons, check out play.fender.com. They have a FREE 30-day trial!
These are just a few examples of what our Colsie is interested in. We love her! She is so special.
Here is a check list of how to encourage your own kids in their pursuits!
How to Encourage Your Kids to Pursue Their Interests
~Know them. Have a relationship with them.
~Ask about what they love and LISTEN to them.
~Notice what they are good at & encourage them in it.
~Help them to embrace both strengths and weakness, show them how both can spur interests.
~See their uniqueness and point it out to them.
~Give them the tools they need to pursue specific things that they love.
~Make use of personality tests, occupation quizzes, etc, to help them get to know themselves.
~Recognize that all kids learn at a different pace and in different ways. Make space for this.
~Provide opportunities for them to learn according to their unique learning styles.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.