When I think of the movie line "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My," it makes me think about the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. For those of you who haven’t seen it or need a refresher, I will summarize some of my favourite characters.

There were 3 characters that all needed something. They figured if they met the Wizard of Oz, he could give them what they needed.

There was The Scarecrow who needed a brain. A Tin Man who needed a heart and The Lion who needed courage. 

Thankfully we are born with a brain and a heart. And I think it’s fair to say that courage can come and go in our lives. But as parent’s, we are responsible for facilitating growth in all 3 of these areas.  And I believe that the Lord has designed us all uniquely. We are all born with different gifts and talents. That’s what makes us special.  When my sons were younger at times I felt overwhelmed towards the great responsibility it was to raise them. What if I make a mistake? What if I forget to teach them a life skill? What if I am too strict? What if I am too lenient? Yet as our children grow up, so do we as parents. We adapt to their needs and opportunities that facilitate character building.

There was the Scarecrow, who was in search of a brain. The left-brained dominant thinker is more analytical and methodical. Whereas the right-brained dominant thinker is more creative and artistic. To facilitate “growing your child’s brain” remember that every experience can be a lesson to be taught. And life lessons aren’t found in a textbook but rather with real life experiences. For years I felt bad when a plan fell through for my son’s. Perhaps I was too empathetic but in a lot of ways you desire for your child to have an easy life or great childhood. 

But as they are both teenagers now, I am often reminded that change is one of the many guarantees in life. And with change comes disappointment. When your child’s brain learns to adapt, then that is a lifelong skill that is being developed. It reminds me of how many ways we have all had to adapt to life’s restrictions over the past 2 years. I remember whiting out all these activities that we were used to participating in and looking at a clean slate. And for someone who loves to plan, this was a hard thing for me to accept.

There was the Tin Man, who was in search of a heart. And while we are born with a heart, it is up to us as to how we raise our children to use it. 

We can facilitate; modelling and teaching empathy, desiring to follow the Lord’s calling and thinking about others before yourselves. But ultimately, it is up to your child to put different behaviours into actions. Also, children learn what they see. If we model certain behaviours, they will be encouraged to follow suit.

And lastly, there was the Lion who needed courage. We all need courage at different times in our lives. Some of us need it more than others based on our personality type. Whether it’s standing up against a lie or standing up for a truth. Whether it’s jumping out of an airplane or attending a job interview. We are all in need of courage at times.

As much as I see the gift’s our sons were born with, I also recognize their weaknesses. So I try to facilitate growth where they are lacking by giving them opportunities. My one son is often challenged to not interrupt during conversations. Seeing as this is a life skill, when we are at home I consistently remind him to listen and take turns talking. My other son has a shy side to him. So I will ask him to read out loud at times, even if it is just one page as public speaking is also a life skill.

My encouragement for you today would be, you were chosen for this time. You have been blessed with your children for a reason. Even when you don’t "get" your child, it’s okay. Anything that is, has been. Some days will seem perfect while other days will seem chaotic. This too shall pass. The good and the not so good.

 My challenge for you today would be to recognize if your child needs a little extra T.L.C. with their thinking, feeling and doing. If so, I encourage you to push them a little bit each day to help them grow and develop more and more.

Danielle Spurgeon was born and raised in BC. She is in going into her 9th year of being a home educator. Her 2 sons are in Grades 4 and 5. She holds Diplomas in both Early Childhood and Special Needs Education. Danielle has had the privilege of working in both public and private schools supporting children for 20 years. She also co-owned a preschool. Until recently, her family called the Okanagan home. In the summer of 2017, her family moved to a farm in northern Alberta. 

Part of The Gilbertine Institute