Have you asked your kids what makes them special?

what makes you specialThis is my 5 year old. She went off to kindergarten a few weeks ago and left me. {Sniffle.} This kid is really special to me {as are all my kiddos}. She drew this lovely picture of her family at kindergarten and is very proud of it. And rightly so. See the talent? 😉 Not only did she draw all 6 people in her family, and correctly spell all the names, but she drew us all jumping rope together. We have never jumped rope together, so I’m not sure where she got the idea, but this picture makes me want to go out and buy a few more jump ropes so we can all try. It would be pretty darn funny to have all 6 of us jumping rope at the same time.

{Why yes, that is my super messy barn kitchen in the background. Normally, I would try to edit out or hide all of that mess, but I am taking a new approach with my blog and keeping it all real. I don’t want you to think I am some super woman, because I’m not. I have to let some things go to keep up with other things.}

But back to the point of this blog post ~

Have you asked your kids what makes them special?

Like I said, this little girl went off to kindergarten a few weeks ago in search of friends, I guess. She feels like she doesn’t have any friends, since none of the people we hang out with on a regular basis have little girls her age. Each Friday her teacher sends the kids home with a synopsis of what they did in school that week. Last week, they learned about the word special. Well, of course, being the curious person that I am, I asked C about school. She blew me off, but I persisted. She can be a pretty closed little girl so I wanted to pry. 

“What makes you special?” I asked her.

And do you know what she told me? She said, ‘NOTHING.”

Oh MY. I teared up right away.  Of course she is a special girl. Why would she think she’s not special??? It makes me beyond sad that she thinks there’s nothing special about her, because that’s simply not true. It’s probably hard being 5 years old. She’s not quite old enough to be a big kid, but she’s not quite young enough to be the cute baby. She’s living in the shadow of an older sister who’s a complete whiz kid and accomplished piano player, an older brother who’s a very talented artist, and a younger sister who’s in a super cute stage of life and has hair that everyone oogles over. 

Well, I wanted to change her mind so we went through a list of things that make her special –>

Me: “You are special because you have an awesome giggle.”  That brought out a full on laugh and made me smile.

“You are special because you have red hair and freckles.” 

C: “That just means I have to wear sunscreen and a hat because I burn easier. That’s not special.”

Me: “Of course it makes you special!! Not many people have red hair and freckles. That makes you very special!!”

C: “Well, I guess…”

Me: “You’re special because you’re probably one of only two kids who can sing songs in German at your whole school.” {I’ve taught the kids a few songs from my childhood which they think are pretty funny AND they remember!}

Me: “You are special because you’re a great artist.”

Me: “You are special because you live in a barn.”

Me: “You are special because you can ride a bike like a champ and have been riding without training wheels since you were 3!”

Me: “You are special because you have a crazy great pyrenees puppy with a name that rhymes with yours!”

Me: “You are special because you have a Great-Grandpa and a Granny. A lot of people don’t have great-grandparents.”

Me: “You are special because you have a mom and dad, two sisters and a brother all of whom love you very much.”

At the end of our conversation, she was all smiles and giggles, and came up with her own reason for being special – she loves her Christmas birthday –> something a lot of people don’t think is special at all, which makes her even that much more special!! I will do my best to make sure she cherishes her birthday for ever.

I am having this same conversation with all of my other kids, too, because the thought of my kids thinking they are not special people makes me really, really sad.

And, I think I am going to buy those jump ropes today so we can act out her picture. That might make her feel the most special of all.

Have you asked your kids what makes them special? You should! 

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Comments

  1. Red hair and freckles! When she's older she can read "Anne of Green Gables." I always wanted red hair and freckles after reading any of the "Anne" books. :) My kids are too young to have this conversation yet, but when they are older - this is something I'll keep in mind. And what a great list!
  2. I asked my kids today and they both answered I don't know. Maybe I need to talk a little about what makes them special. My son is such a ham and really has a great sense of humor and my daughter has a great heart and will help anyone who needs it. I think we will spend some time this week talking about what makes them special. Thanks!
    • Shelly, it's not something I really thought I needed to do with my kids. OF COURSE they are special. I'm still sad and shocked that she thinks otherwise. Clearly, this is something I will need to emphasize with her. Good luck with your own kids. :-)
  3. Thanks for doing this post. Mine are all grown up and out on their own own, but I'm still going to ask them, and all the grandkids.
  4. Oh man, I even teared up!! Wonderful post. And I LOOOOOVE the kitchen photo! =) I just took an awesome harvest shot of all the yummy veggies my neighbors gave me and made sure to include the dirty dish pile in the background!!
  5. Interesting post! OK, I asked my four "What makes you special?" and this is what I got: M (11): All my qualities put together. My love of math, my hatred of PE, I'm a fast reader, I like to bake, I play piano, I like to learn new things. L(9): Why? (I'm curious.) Why? (Just answer the question.) I'm totally awesome. I'm a master LEGO builder. (Anything else?) I'm the best at everything in the world. C(6): (pause) I don't really know. (What do you mean?) I don't really know what special means. (Well, what do you think special means?) Getting to do something really awesome. (It means what is unique about you, important, valuable, what defines you.) Hmm. My hair. My voice. (OK, if someone asked why your brother is so special to you, what would you say?) He's a great Lego builder. {Then while he talked he started helping the 2yo put on her 5th pair of underpants so I pointed out to him how helpful and patient he is, and how those are things that make him so special.} R(2): (too young to ask, but I did anyway and she said:) Wee-annon! So these answers got me thinking. I already know I need to make more effort to be truly present. And to help them feel loved and recognize the special within themselves. One way I try to do so is by making scrapbook pages (not many! but occasionally!) about each of them. They really like this. But hands down the biggest way I know I could and should do this is by unplugging from my phone, Facebook, computer etc. Really being present instead of just there. So much easier said than done! I struggle with this a lot. I digress... Anyway, I noticed mine made comments about physical aspects, likes, knowledge, and talents, which are all fine and valid, but I want to try to help them capture their true essence, the character traits that really make them special, like C's helpfulness and patience. So I'm going to see if in the next few days I can make more comments like: {You are special because:} When your sister hurt herself, you helped her feel better - you are compassionate. When you fell and hurt your knee, you got right back up - you are brave! When we read that book, you asked some really great questions - you are so thoughtful! When you were asked that question, you told the truth - you are honest. When you were nervous about that test, you did your best anyway - you are determined! I appreciate that you thanked me for making dinner. I love that you show gratitude. We'll see how it goes. It would be interesting to be more mindful of this and then ask them the same question 2 months from now
    • You know I am very hard on myself. And I agree with you about being present with them instead of plugged in and I also like your list of traits - they were hard to come up with on the spot, but I do plan to work that in over the next couple of weeks too. Love your kids' answers. :-)

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