Updated: May 20, 2019
Although every one of us has been given a story to tell, every parent wants the same story for each of their children…to become fully prepared for life as the best version of themselves.
PSALM 139:16 CJB | 16 Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.
We are all part of a glorious story that God has written for each of us and one of the great blessings of being a parent is the privilege of helping our children discover their own. While everyone’s story is indeed unique, the process of discovery is universal.
For example, suppose you wanted to write a book. In order to do this, you must first master the alphabet, the rules of English grammar, and have a basic grasp of sentence structure [it also wouldn't hurt to be familiar with great literature]. Then, you are ready to engage in the creative process of storytelling.
In a similar way, Preparing Kids 4 Life (PK4L) uses the idea of 360-degree parenting as the framework for this discovery process in order to empower parents to help their children become prepared for life as the best version of themselves.
It is through this framework that PK4L gives parents the tools they need to engage their children in the five dimensions of human development:
Spiritual: Helping our children to know God intimately, and to authentically align their understanding of Him, themselves, others, and how life works with His character.
Emotional: Helping our children understand how to successfully manage losses (grief), resolve conflicts, and maintain healthy relationships in a fallen world populated by imperfect people.
Mental: Helping our children develop a love of learning and the ability to self-educate.
Social: Helping our children form healthy boundaries in order to cultivate and maintain relationships with others, and to learn how to live in community.
Physical: Helping our children develop a balanced understanding of nutrition and exercise for optimal health.
The process of engaging in these five dimensions begins with understanding the three stages of human learning:
Grammar “download” (ages 1-10): absorbing information; repetition
Dialectic “organize” (ages 11-13): sorting information; asking "why?" (a lot)
Rhetoric “synthesize” (ages 14-18): testing and applying information through experience
It might be easier to think of these stages as three gates that everyone passes through…but at their own pace and in their own way. Whether they are walking, running, crawling, jumping, skipping, or on a pogo stick...they still go through the same three gates.
Understanding the stage of learning your child is in, will enable you to set realistic expectations and reduce the potential for frustration (both yours and theirs).
But, in order to maximize your child’s progress through each of these three stages, their preferred medium of learning must be considered as well.
Though your child engages in all three mediums (and there are even multiple variations within these three), they will likely have a preference for one above the others. Identifying this preference will help you improve their comprehension for whatever you are helping them learn.
Lastly, it is crucial to understand their temperament, or personality type. There are four basic personality types (some even include a fifth, Supine), and each type has its own characteristics, strengths, weaknesses (I prefer “undirected strengths”), and motivators.
Melancholic EmeraldTM (Introvert)
Choleric RubyTM (Extrovert)
Sanguine SapphireTM (Extrovert)
Phlegmatic PearlTM (Introvert)
Perhaps it might be easier to think of these personality types as a “language.” Parents have valuable and important things to share with their children and the more “fluent” they become in their child’s “language”, the more effectively they will communicate those things.
Imagine someone told you the precise geographic location of $1 million…but in Chinese (not helpful, unless of course, you speak Chinese). Even though the information was extremely valuable, your lack of "fluency" in the "language" made it useless.
Although everyone has each of the four personality types to varying degrees, everyone also has a primary and a secondary type. Identifying the primary and secondary type of your child will improve your "fluency" in their "language."
Once fluent, not only will you communicate more effectively, but you will also (1) know when and how to apply encouragement and correction with the appropriate grace and (2) know how to cultivate their strengths while training their weaknesses (remember all weaknesses are really undirected strengths) using the appropriate motivators.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Grooming the Next Generation for Success by Dani Johnson
My next post will highlight some ways you can engage your children in the first of the five dimensions of human development...spiritual.