Tutus and Tennis Shoes

I’ve heard that there’s an intricate relationship that exist between who you are and where you come from. Whether it's a bundle of past experiences or significant relationships that has made an impact no matter how small. Different personality traits, natural talents, personal interests, and even spiritual beliefs play a major role in coloring our identity. I’ve been cautious not to paint with broad strokes when it comes to relating to my kids. I’ve noticed that while they have many of the things I’ve just mentioned in common, they have them in different combinations. How do we stay away from the parent trap of being color blind? How do we value and celebrate the uniqueness of each of our children?

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You
— Dr. Seuss

Here are some things I've tried lately to create a sense of uniqueness in each of my kids :

Verbal Hues

A hue is attribute of color that enables us to classify something as red, blue, green, etc.. How often do we stop and say something that encourages our kids to have a sense uniqueness? Whenever Austin (my oldest) has his moments of sharing, which are few and far between, I usually pick up on key words that I listen for in order to speak his language. He’ll usually end his phrases with, “you feel me” or start his phrases with “I feel like”, or throw in an occasional “I have a feeling. Knowing he’s definitely a kinesthetic, I usually pick a moment and say something specific like, “Austin I feel like you’re a great thinker. You process things in a very detailed way.”

Experimental Tones

One of the most important things we can do as parents is help and support our kids discover their strengths and passions. Getting them involved in all kinds of activities so they can figure out what they love and what they’re good at. It’s like spinning this big giant color wheel until the right shade brings out their best features. Last month, I attended Caitlyn’s middle school dance recital with Jordan (my three year old) and sat through 52 dance numbers only to see her dance in one act. Sure I thought, “what the hell did I just put myself through”, and immediately after that moment of clarity, Jordan urinated all over herself (*heavy sigh*). It's in those exact moments I keep reminding myself that Tiffany and I are helping them narrow down their focus to the few things they’ll eventually invest their life in.

Memory Shades

With all the technology out there these days, there isn’t a moment that we don’t capture or highlight all over our social media spectrums. To me your past experiences are part of what makes your story unique. Memory is a very powerful tool if you and you're kids are visual learners. It’s why we take so many pictures, videos, and one of the main reasons I love to blog. So that one day I could tell Jordan, “Hey did you know that you used to dress yourself as a kid in tutu’s and tennis shoes and we’d go out in public and you would....” 

 

I wonder what other ideas are out there to teach our kids and others about uniqueness?