Living Strong Abroad: Focus on Our Children

Living Strong Abroad: Focus on Our Children

Jo Self

It's another week to focus on strengths, but this time, focusing on our children.

peru . You see, my mission is to raise a Strengths-Based Generation and it starts at home.

Gallup, Inc has developed an assessment for young people (starting as early as 10) to help discover their talents, so that we, as parents and educators can help them develop their natural abilities at an earlier age. Even if your child isn't 10 yet, we can also be talent scouts for our little ones using the same criteria.

According to the book, Strengths-Based Parenting, by Mary Reckenmeyer, the ten talents are:
Achieving – They have more energy and more goals than other people. They seek a sense of accomplishment.
Caring – They want to make the world better by helping people in small or big ways.
Competing – They see things in life as a game and feel great when winning.
Confidence – They believe in themselves and what they can do.
Dependability – They care about being seen as responsible and trustworthy.
Discoverer – They are a thinker and learn, excited about exploring ideas and making connections.
Future Thinker – They think about what is possible in the future.
Organizer -They naturally schedule, plan and organize.
Presence – They are comfortable in front of people and telling stories.
Relating – They like to start friendships and keep them for a long time.

Knowing these categories, I can now observe my three-year-old, O, through a different filter. I no longer look at him through only my talents, but how he is unique and has his own way of doing things and seeing the world. Just as a brief reminder, our talents are a natural way which we think, feel, act and behave. Being able to see my child for who he is rather than what I think he should be is liberating – for both of us. It saves on frustration (not all the time, but when I'm on my game it does) and behavior issues become much less.

When I see O, I see a Discoverer. He loves to get down to eye level with every toy he has. He gets down on the ground, watches how it works, tests the limits of them and occasionally breaks them – all in the name of discovering how it works. He also observes new spaces and people with an intensity that many adults comment on – ever since he was a baby he has had this intensity about him.

He is also all about Dependability. Ever since he could walk, he has helped with household chores on his own will. He loves to help me cook, wash the dishes and even helps sweep the house or clean the patio when it needs it. In his daycare, he takes care of the plants. He is so careful about it, that he protects them from other children getting too close, waters them, and even whispers to them.

And he has Confidence. He absolutely must be allowed to do it himself. Only when he discovers he is limited in his ability will he allow someone to help. He also loves to lead his friends in play, which brings up Presence. He is at his best when he is able to be with his friends and playing with others. He wants to lead and he wants to be involved. He gets so upset when some of his friends or his cousins decide not to play with him anymore. He is completely deflated by it.

Of course, my job as a parent is to see when he is at his best as well as when he is being challenged or frustrated and considering his talents makes the job just a bit easier. Is it possible to get it wrong? Not really. Of course, our children will shift and grow, but when we observe what comes easily for them, and try to help them do more of that, then we have a chance at raising a child who will see the world for the benefit of its differences, not the challenges of them. They will problem solve in a new way, think more about the long-term and sustainable solutions. They will see themselves as powerful leaders – both of themselves and in their community-at-large.

If you are interested in knowing more about how to be a talent scout for your child, please sign up for our next webinar, being held on 28 June at 1 pm CST.

Jo Self is Peru’s only Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and is on a mission to disrupt the status quo and raise a Strengths-Based Generation. She believes in a world where everyone can live to their full potential, talents aren't wasted & happiness is contagious. As a mompreneur & expat living in Peru, she understands the challenges and rewards that both entail. When she's not helping others create extraordinary lives, she can be found at the sewing machine, at the movies, enjoying a glass of wine with friends or horsing around with her terribly precocious little boy, affectionately known as O. or

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