Your Child's Potential
By Elaine Olson
The writer of Proverbs exhorts parents to "train
up a child in the way he should go."i
As parents, we have the responsibility to look
for the potential inside each of our children
and encourage and equip them to achieve it.
Our children are happiest when they can express
who God made them to be. This type of training
requires insight, wisdom, and faith.
The Bible tells the story of a woman who possessed
this type of insight. Her name was Jochabed.
Moses was her son, and Jochabed saw that Moses
was beautiful.ii I doubt she was
merely looking at his outward features. (At
3 months old, most babies look the same!) I
believe she had insight into the beautiful potential
of her child.
As the story goes, Pharoah ordered all the
Hebrew baby boys to be murdered. So Jochabed,
a Hebrew, carefully concealed Moses in a basket
and sent him down the Nile River. Eventually,
the basket found its way into the hands of Pharoah's
daughter who recognized Moses as a Hebrew baby.
She immediately favored Moses, so rather than
take him home, which would have meant his certain
death, she hired a Hebrew woman to hide and
raise him for a few years. Though Pharoah's
daughter didn't realize it, the woman she had
hired was the child's mother.
What a story! Why did Jochabed get Moses back?
I believe God returned Moses to his mother because
He could trust her. Her insight was what God
needed to train Moses in the way he should go.
It was during his early years, the formative
years, that his potential would require careful
cultivation to ensure he would fulfill God's
great purpose for his life. Jochabed had the
insight and commitment to unlock his potential.
Like Jochabed, we have our children for a few
brief years to cultivate their potential. Our
insight must be keen. We must be able to look
beyond the natural circumstances and see what
God has deposited within each of our children.
Their potential is limitless, and it is our
responsibility as parents to unlock it!
See Your Children as Achievers
One of the greatest attributes a child can
possess is the belief that they have potential.
But a child will only believe about himself,
what his parent believes about him. As John
Maxwell said, "A child has no clear picture
of himself. He sees himself only in the mirror
of his parents' evaluation of himself."
Developing an attitude of unlimited potential
starts with the parent. No matter what happens
in any given day, if we think our child has
potential, we are more likely to work to develop
that potential with them. Proverbs 23:7 tells
us that "as a man thinks in his heart,
so is he."
Discovering Your Child's Potential
You may be wondering, "How do I discover
my child's potential? Following are three practical
1. Observe what comes naturally to them.
Our second daughter, Jenessa has natural strength
and agility. This became obvious when at 4 months
old, she was crawling and by 8 months, she provoked
stares of disbelief as she walked through the
local park unassisted.
When we lived in Africa as missionaries, my
husband made a swing for our children out of
rope and small board to sit on. While our eldest
daughter, Brittany (3 at the time), sat, gingerly
enjoying the swing, Jenessa (2) would stand
on the swing, practically pumping over the top
when it was her turn. We could see she was naturally
fearless, athletic, with a good sense of balance.
We encouraged that potential within her. Today,
at 13 years of age, Jenessa has broken several
school records in track and field. Looking at
her natural ability, it's completely possible
for her to fulfill her potential (and dream)
to compete on a much larger scale.
2. Listen to what your children talk
Whenever I hear our oldest daughter, Brittany,
talk to her friends, the topic usually includes
travel. She's not shy about her pursuit of adventure.
These conversations are clues to what God has
placed inside her heart. In our minds, her potential
to travel the world is limitless. Now that she
is only 2 years away from completing her formal
education, we have been researching with her
Bible college opportunities around the globe,
teaching her to pray and believe God that the
dreams she speaks about will become reality.
3. Potential can be discovered through
influence our children's lives.
This happened with our 11-year old daughter,
Madison. While her joy and energy is obvious,
I've often wondered where the real potential
lies within her heart. Several of her teachers
have commented about Madison's dramatic flare
and natural stage presence. They say.
"When she stands at the front of the class
she is confident and expressive." At this
point, the specific direction of her potential
is still unknown, but her teachers' observations
are valuable clues and confirmations to us as
Whatever your child's hidden potential, faith
and patience will bring it to maturity. As parents,
seek the heart of God. Pray not only for your
children, but for yourself as well. With faith
and patience you will accurately discern and
nurture the precious potential God has placed
in your care.
Elaine Olson is a Master's prepared
Christian counselor with a private practice
in Ilderton, Ontario. She counsels, mentors
and teaches around the world with a mission
to build families, mentor women and strengthen
marriages. As a wife and mother of three girls,
Elaine's experiences and wisdom have been captured
in her book "Family Matters".
You can reach Elaine at: firstname.lastname@example.org
i. The Bible, Proverbs 22:6
ii. The Bible, Exodus 2:2