SPEAK: Affirm By the Spirit – Affirming Our Youth

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with
Erica A. Hawthorne

Affirming Our Youth

© 2011 Erica A. Hawthorne

March 12, 2011

Some of the most amazing artists and entrepreneurs I have learned about over the years have a common theme among them.  Not all, but many, were aware of their passion, even if they would have never called it that, from the time they were young.

There are countless of stories of writers that remember wanting to do nothing more than to be left with paper and pencil and their burgeoning imaginations.  Mult-millionaire entrepreneurs can remember their first ventures selling lemonade or their sister’s old clothes to neighborhood kids.

The other commonality many of these widely successful people share is having received nurturing and affirmation from some adult in their lives that encouraged, challenged or made a way for them to pursue that unction at an early age.

In our society, this may not always happen.  Our basic education system is not set up for the “nontraditional” student that can’t seem to sit still, or the kid with the wild imagination or the quiet loner.  Our children are often put in special classes, medicated, ignored or worse yet, deterred or pushed into other directions all together.

The future Nobel Peace prize winner may be right under our noses, but if a child’s environment does not allow for discovery or creativity, the very thing that could be fed and fanned into flames of purpose and potential might be smothered by expectation and societal protocol.

God’s creativity is constantly made manifest and many times is readily apparent in our children as soon as they are able to toddle their way around their wide worlds. One of the greatest gifts we can give a young person, is to introduce them to the wonderful neighborhoods, classes, cultural events, books, and happenings around them to allow them to explore.  And as they reach out for each idea, be more than willing to affirm their curious attempts as part of the great process of becoming who they have been blessed to grow to be.

This sometimes is easier for us to do with little children, a little more difficult for a teen we think should be selecting colleges and “thinking seriously about their future.”  Affirm their willingness to think critically rather than just rationally (for many great thinkers and creators had to be “crazy” to take some of the risks they did!)…

Affirm their ability to take risks, calculate the mistakes and make new plans before approaching the next adventure.  Affirm in them the very thing that you would have wanted, or had the blessing of receiving when you were young and in the midst of discovery.

Let us choose to be fearless with our children.  Believe that as a parent, teacher or mentor, that they are seeds with every potential to bloom into a myriad of possibilities. They are our gardens.  We would never demand that a bush do something more practical and lay lower like the grass, because they are less likely to get hurt.  Nor would we try to convince a sunflower that maybe they shouldn’t open so wide becoming vulnerable to the whole world.

So why should we make our children fearful of pursuing something they love so much?  Why would we press them to grow before their time into adult decisions that they are yet unsure of?  Their potential is not on a timeline.  Rather, we tend to them…nurture them…surround them with fertile opportunity.  Water them with lessons, challenge through pruning, but never chopping or cutting them down.  We stand back and let the Sun do its work.

What God has planned for them, is nothing less than greatness…affirm them with this knowledge and awareness and let them blossom.

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