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Archive for Family Goals

What is Your Family Identity?

Can your family’s unique set of strengths and quirky interests help your son or daughter’s long term talent? Yes.

Your family’s identity is one of the most overlooked assets for building talent in a child (tip: your family’s identity is what you think others would probably describe your family as). But if you understand how to use your family’s identity, you can use it as emotional jet-fuel. The younger the child, the more leverage you will get out of using your family’s identity to blast your child out of being in a state of being average. Harnessing academic goals and using personal interests are also part of the 10ktoTalent method, but it is the family’s identity that gives you the most emotional leverage in your child’s early years of talent.

Here’s a simple example of how you would enlist your family’s identity to push your child’s talent forward:

Imagine that your daughter has a serious core writing skill she is developing as part of her long-term talent. She takes her craft seriously. She is able to write with poise and conviction. Imagine also that your family’s identity is found in providing hospitality. Your family unit is known for being that hospitable family at church to whom everyone turns to whenever there is person or event that needs to be honored in an appropriate way. Your family knows how to get people together and you take great joy as a family unit in helping others to honor those important occasions in life.

Those two apparent disconnected pursuits could stay disconnected. And that’s how most people would see the situation. Most would look at the fact that your daughter is growing up in a hospitable family as completely the same as her growing up in a musical family…in other words your family’s identity is irrelevant.  At best, it is meant for your daughter to tolerate or pass by your family’s identity as the proverbial ship in a dark night, while trying to find time for herself to carve her own way. At worst, it can erupt into serious family conflict, resolved by either the daughter or the family having to give up their focus in order to sacrifice for the other.

This the better way: you MAKE those two worlds of writing and hospitality connect. This requires some imagination, but not anything outside of a little effort. There are usually several ways that you could come up with to connect two worlds. One way would be to enlist your daughter’s writing skill to enhance your family’s already great strength in the area of hospitality. A writer needs something to write about and needs to write for someone. A young person especially needs quick feedback as to whether what she is doing is appreciated, or if it’s completely a talk to her bedroom wall. This immediate outlet for her writing is what you provide for her through your family identity. In practical terms, this would translate into such things as having her compose short biographical sketches of the people or events being honored for that occasion and in following up after with congratulatory and thank-you notes and summaries of the event for the rest of the people who could not be there. This range of events to be written for, and for which she would almost have free reign within the safety of her family’s sphere of influence, would be amazing. Typical events would be: birthday celebrations, retirement events, wedding showers, baby showers, memorial services, post-ordination receptions, visiting missionaries, receptions for guest speakers, etc. She can easily gauge the feedback she got from exercising her skill. All of this engagement through the use of her writing skills to provide value to others is guaranteed to emotionally super-charge her to want to take her writing skill to the next level.

Notice in the above example at how critical the use of her family’s identity and strength would be at a young age. If she were thirteen and wanted to do such things on her own, most likely she would be blocked (and correctly so) as being too young and inexperienced. Most likely she would not even have the vision or the social savvy to initiate on her own to such a service level to other people. But because it is her parents’ strength and joy to do hospitality, they can easily clear that way for her and protect her from any social danger. Eventually, yes, that daughter, without her parents’ involvement, might find a way on her own to get that involved, but that is not likely to be possible until she as at least sixteen or seventeen. The difference between her parents connecting her talent with her family, and her parents being disconnected from her talent growth is the difference of three years. It is probably even more than that as the developed skills compound in usefulness.

What is your family identity?

My Wife and I Talking About our Lifestyle

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My wife and I were interviewed by Ryan and Stephanie Langford from EntreFamily.com

These are the points we talk about:

  • Why starting small can be wise
  • How we decided it was time to become full-time entrepreneurs rather than continue in the corporate world
  • How to help your kids find their passion and develop a marketable skill early on
  • How to find learning opportunities that will develop and challenge you as a business owner
  • Why your own story may be one of the things that helps you most with effective marketing
  • Why professional development matters and we should always keep learning
  • How training kids early in responsibilities and independence allows them the freedom they need to make their homeschooling & entrepreneurial family lifestyle work (and with 8 kids, we should know!)

If you are interested in eventually changing your family life so that you are more of an entrepreneurial focused family, I recommend you sign up for the Langford’s podcast to hear how others are doing it.

Use Family Goals to Help Talent

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It is possible to have your child try to develop his talent without involving your family’s collective goals and aspirations. But here is why I discourage you from ignoring what makes you different from all the other families.

Any skill, and collections of skills, used in the development of a long term talent need to be applied in a particular situation and place in time in order to have an impact on the world around you. It’s all fine and dandy to say that your child wants to be a singer, but he will not be a singer in a vacuum.

(WARNING: If your child is well into developing his core talent of singing and he is only singing for his teacher, you need to stop your talent trajectory RIGHT NOW. You should make sure you are not developing an expensive HOBBY that has no value for others in his adult life. Your paid teacher does not count as proof that your child’s talent has meaning for the future.)

You would still need to decide on where and for whom your child would actually start singing. The place and the people your child would start practicing his singing will influence over time the type of singing he will favor over all the other types of singing he could practice. This is where family goals come into place. You could randomly let any number of accessible venues be an option for your child to perform his burgeoning talent.

Maybe you currently have the following choices:

  • a year-round Wednesday night community choir
  • a weekly Sunday volunteer group that visits retirement homes and would welcome singers
  • musical plays put on by a beloved community theater group
  • an international month-long jazz festival

Of all the above choices, there is in fact one that stands out over all the others as being the best choice for your child’s talent development. You can know there is one best choice and not just guess at what to get involved with.

Why can you be so certain? Because when you look at the list of family goals you wrote down in the talent discovery workshop, you are reminded that hosting foreigners happens to be an important family tradition that your family is particularly adept at carrying out and it derives great joy in exercising that kind of hospitality. By saying yes to the international jazz festival, you are foregoing the other venues. By saying yes to the festival, your child is riding the tide of your family’s positive energy to be part of hosting foreigners coming from out of town.

Some of those foreigners will actually be some of the smaller jazz bands who can’t afford full on hotel stays and your family is already on the list of hosting homes. Your son will continue to be the beneficiary of all the informal inside tips on how to interact with people from other cultures, but this time those tips will also help him to interact with the talented people in his field of interest. Not only that, but in anticipation of the international event, the rest of the family will be excited to come and watch him practice his year-round jazz singing. He’s practicing his jazz that much because he managed to join the the local amateur jazz band that will be opening the act for the bigger bands. He won’t be the primary vocalist, but he’s persuaded the adult members that he can add a lot to the variety of background vocals with his youthful timber.

By choosing to exercise his talent in the context of his parents’ family goals and traditions, he is maximizing the potential to be in harmony with the world around him and maximizing the likelihood that his parents are going to go all out in giving the time and space to practice his talent. This is why family goals should not be overlooked or despised.