Last year I wondered what the problem was with Darla coloring. Her cousin Pearl is 6 months older than she is and impeccable with a crayon. I didn't expect for Darla to keep up. Not only is Pearl older but she inherits from her parents this eye for perfection that Darla's parents definitely lack! Darla quickly loses interest in coloring; a few scribbles suit her fine. While I didn't expect her to be like Pearl, I did at least expect some interest!
Recently I have discovered why Darla isn't a coloring book kind of kid. After watching S. draw cartoon characters, with next to no instruction, this little 4 year old started whipping out all sorts of inventive pictures. Each has a storyline and characters. She isn't worried about specifics. Once the big idea is on the page, it's ripped off and piled on my desk with everything else that "is just for you, Mom!" Apparently she feels restricted and bored coloring something that has already been created. She wants to be the creator, which is why her new favorite accessory is a magna-doodle.
My niece Pearl is taking piano lessons. Her ability to focus and perfect a skill is causing her to excel far beyond a 5 year old level. She is so bent on 'getting it right' that the morning of her piano lessons she looks ahead at what will be introduced so she can practice what she isn't expected to know yet. She thrives in piano and now ballet lessons.
Last night I asked Darla if there is a class she wants to take in the spring. We talked about many options. I expected her to pick piano and ballet because she adores Pearl. Instead, Darla enthusiastically threw her arms open wide while declaring she wants to "act!" She added, "and maybe be on TV so people remember how funny I am!" Holy buckets, what do we have on our hands?! She then mentioned that soccer would be fun, too.
While watching Pearl and Darla interact yesterday, my sister Jasmine and I admired how unique our girls are. Jasmine is teaching Pearl that it's okay to fail; it's okay if it's not right the first time. I'm teaching Darla to follow through; don't neglect the details!
Our parents had to teach each of us the same things (I still cringe over details & Jasmine still can't let something go until she's mastered it). I've always been thankful Jasmine and I are different. We were taught by our parents to admire each others' strengths. We were never compared to each other and there was never any reason for competition. Our parents celebrated our unique giftings, encouraged us to pursue our interests, and never expected the same things from each kid. They encouraged Jasmine to quit college and attend beauty school with the same zeal they encouraged me to finish my bachelor's degree in elementary education- because they understood we were wired differently and created for different work. (A smart move, too...Jasmine's made far more money with her cosmetologist license than I ever made with my bachelor's degree. Oh, wait. I'm still paying that off.)
Watching Darla & Pearl made me evaluate the way I cheer my kids on & the way I challenge them to grow. May I always throw myself into whatever interests and passions are implanted in my household. May I encourage my kids' passions and interests so that they don't have to default to the 'norm'. May they serve God in individual ways- the ways He has created them to. May I always be surprised and delighted as I learn new things about my kids.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...