If you spend a few minutes with children, one thing you’ll learn quickly is that they are passionate. Passionate with their emotions. Passionate with their desires. Passionate about causes. Passionate about things.
One second they want to be a professional ballerina, the next a firefighter. They want to play football one season, only to become obsessed with soccer the next. Children are apt to change their minds week by week, day by day, hour by hour. Toddlers can go from laughing to crying to laughing again in less than a minute!
I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I feel it is my duty to help my children navigate their emotions and pursue their desires! So how do we do that when sometimes it isn’t always obvious what their real desires, using their God-given gifts, might be?
Perhaps the most important thing we can do is to equip them for pursuing their dreams and God’s plans for their lives. We need to “train them up in the way they should go.”
They need to learn to discern what is good, what is holy, and what it means to trust God and listen for the direction of the Holy Spirit. They need to gain the understanding that just because they are passionate about something doesn’t mean that it is from God. They need to become grounded in the Word. It’s so easy for them to get caught up in their emotions or the emotions around them, so they need to learn to filter those emotions through the Word of God. Is it honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous? (Philippians 4:8). Is what they are feeling worthy of their time and honorable to God?
Kids also need to learn that their passions and gifts might not be the same as others’.. In her new picture book, The Gift That I Can Give, Kathie Lee Gifford does an amazing job of showing children that although passions from God may look different for everyone, everyone has a gift that they can use to make the world a better place. Whether it’s a talent for sports, or singing, or a gift for encouragement and empathy, children can discover their passion with help and encouragement from us.
If your children need help finding their gifts and passions, keep praying for the Holy Spirit to make it evident, and keep trying new things! Let them try… let them fail… then let them try again!
“Do not fear failure, but rather fear not trying.”
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
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What are your children passionate about these days? How can you help fuel that passion in God-honoring ways? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!