As a leader in any capacity, be it at church or in the home, whether you are a mother, a father, or a team leader in the marketplace, it is important to lead out of the understanding of the importance of the mission.
We often have the mission conversation and teach that mission comes first before vision, goals and activities.
Do we truly live our lives in alignment with our mission, or do we often find ourselves caught up in mere activities? Having a clear mission for our children is essential in raising them, as it helps to guide them towards their goals and aspirations.
A few months ago, I experienced one of the most heart-wrenching moments as a parent. When I went to pick up my boys from school, I noticed that one of them was visibly upset and worried. My immediate thought was that he had been bullied, so I asked him who was responsible so that I could take action. However, this time, it was not a bully rather it was the coach, he had not selected him for the soccer team. Now soccer means the world to this particular child. So as soon as he mentioned that, I could literally feel his pain, my own world came crashing down. I could only whisper ‘I am so sorry’ but I knew it was not enough deep down.
When your child doesn’t make a sports team, or if he doesn’t make it to the top 10 in his class or even if he fails to get recognition for being well-behaved or neatly dressed or anything for that matter it can be disheartening. As a parent, your children are your pride and joy. It can be heartbreaking when cultural norms imply that they are not measuring up or are somehow inferior. However, this is a part of life and parenting, and there is little a parent can do to prevent these cultural biases. Instead, our focus should be on responding constructively and supporting our little ones through these challenges.
I had to confront the truth. My child had a passion for soccer, but I realized that passion alone wasn’t enough to make him the best. If he really wanted to excel and if it was God’s plan for him, then we needed to commit to practising and honing his skills. So, it was time for an honest conversation. He helped me understand the importance of soccer to him, and in return, I showed him his areas of strength. I reminded him of the areas where he was selected over others. (Rule #1 of holding this kind of healthy conversation – Take the time to validate their feelings while encouraging them to let it go.)
Towards the end of our conversation, we came to an agreement that soccer was his passion and he played it for fun rather than just to win. However, he realized that he should focus more on his natural talents like speaking and reading. This would allow his light to shine brighter in those areas. It was a win-win situation for him. By the end of our conversation, he was feeling less sore and more confident because he had come to the realization that while some things were difficult for others, they came much easier to him.
Such is life. We are all created uniquely by God and endowed with different gifts and talents. When we start comparing ourselves to others and trying to imitate them, we end up feeling rejected, inadequate and unfulfilled. It’s like running a race that’s not meant for us. We should focus on our own race, stay in our own lane, and make the best of our unique abilities.
As a parent, take time to know your child and learn of their strengths and weaknesses. In Judges 13:12 after the Angel prophesies about the birth of Samson, Manoah, Samson’s father asks ‘What is to be the child’s manner of life, what is his mission?’ This is a very important question to ask God if we are going to parent our children well. Knowing our children’s mission will help us know where to invest in their growth.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”
Have you ever sought God’s guidance to discover your child’s life mission or purpose? If you are unsure about it, please make time to pray for wisdom and discernment regarding this matter.
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Cynthia Mabaso Chimanikire
This article was written by Cynthia Mabaso Chimanikire. Cynthia is the co-founder of New Gates and heads the organisation’s operations and learning strategies. Prior to joining New Gates full-time, Cynthia worked at the Central Bank of Eswatini as the Skills Development Consultant for the Bank’s Academy. Cynthia is married to Berven and together raises three leaders in their home Ethan, Zamar and Joseph. Cynthia’s is passionate about discipleship in families and organisations. Her mantra is “Raising Leaders for tomorrow”.