Great post from Kelli Ligon on encouraging our kids to live a rich life.

When my daughter was three, I was really at the end of my rope with how to deal with her. Somewhere along the way, it was like I had forgotten she was a person with feelings, desires, fears, and needs. And not only that, but that she was basically just like me (but much smaller and way less self control).  Of course there were going to be power struggles, tantrums and meltdowns at Jo-Anns.  But then something happened. I began to notice that the things that triggered her frustration would also bother me if I placed myself in her shoes. This was an amazing discovery for the Terrible Two’s (which showed up a year late at our house.) I tried to understand her frustrations and prevent meltdowns, but also knew this wasn’t the complete solution. One day while attending the a leadership conference, I heard Marcus Buckingham talk about “Playing to your Strengths.” That’s when it hit me that I was going about this whole Terrible Two’s thing the wrong way. Basically, his idea was; focus on your strengths instead of working on your weaknesses.  This is what I did with my kids I taught at school, so why had I not thought of trying that with Kate? God has blessed me by placing some amazing Spirit led moms in my path to help me as a parent. One of these friends suggested making a Fruit of the Spirit sticker chart. Desperate and ready for anything, I made a cute little chart that listed each Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and spaces for stickers. I explained each of them to Kate and told her anytime I see her showing one of these listed, she will get a sticker in that column. After about a week, it was very clear to see her strengths and her weaknesses. I wasn’t surprised at all to see that her column of “self control” was the only column completely without stickers. So, from that chart, we were able to see her top three strengths were joy, love and peace.  Instead of working on her self-control, I focused more on her strengths. Each time I noticed her exhibiting these, we made a big deal about them and celebrated. Of course, she was thrilled and that fueled her to keep on working. We were consistent with this for a few months and it was crazy how quickly the “Terrible Three’s” left our house! My sticker-driven child is nine years old now, but the principle still applies. When I sound like a broken record, I have to remind myself to “play to her strengths” instead of trying to improve her weaknesses. After doing that consistently, it’s amazing how quickly improvement follows.

Even if your children aren’t in the Terrible Two’s, I recommend making a Fruit of the Spirit sticker chart. Make it a family thing and include everyone in your house! It’s a great way to find out what your strengths/weaknesses are as well as a great way to make the Bible applicable to your everyday life.

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