Who doesn’t know Thomas Alva Edison? He is one of the greatest inventors in the world. As a child, Thomas was considered a stupid and deaf child. Even his teacher thought that Edison wasn’t fit to study in formal school because of his limitations. Nancy Edison, the mother of Thomas Alva Edison, didn’t give up just yet. Nancy decided to become a private tutor for Edison’s home education. Nancy’s spirit has made her son believed that he has potential. Edison seemed to have the potential as an inventor, where little Edison freely channeled his interest in reading adult scientific books and doing small research. Finally, her mother succeeded in guiding Edison to develop his potential as an inventor. We know him as a scientist who has produced 1,039 patents.
The story above provides an interesting message for us as parents in developing children’s potential, such as:
- Believe that every child has potential. It is very good if we as parents believe that every child has potential. The potential that a child has is a gift from God, either from birth or through the process of learning and training. By realizing this, we are helped to respect the child and not force our will when the child’s potential isn’t what we expected. For example, parents expect their children to have potential in the field of science, but it turns out that the potential for children is in arts.
- Focus on the child’s strengths. As parents, which one will we choose, develop children’s strengths or improve their weaknesses. If we focus too much on children’s weaknesses and continue to question them, children tend to focus on their weaknesses and ignore their strengths. This will make children tend to feel insecure and their strengths won’t develop. On the contrary, when we focus on children’s strengths by supporting and developing their strengths optimally, we will see them more confident. Self-confidence will allow children to develop all their potential.
- Recognize children’s potential. Parents need to guide their children to recognize the potential that God has given them. One simple way to recognize potential is to look at the interests of the child. Interest is the child’s passion in an area. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi through his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience describes this interest as someone drifting, enjoying, and drowning while doing a certain area. So, the potential of children can be recognized through their interests or when the child looks enjoying, flowing, immersed in doing a certain area. Of course, this is related to areas that are positive and constructive.
Thus, let us as parents begin to focus on the talents and strengths possessed by children. So that our children can develop according to the potential that God has given them and work for God’s glory. “For all things are from Him, and through Him, and unto Him: to Him be glory forever and ever!” (Romans 11:36).
Rina Novita Wijayanti, M.K.
IPEKA Counseling Center