Did you know that your child’s brain can store up to 100 trillion bits of information? Did you know that your child’s sense of touch can detect a particle as small as 1/25,000th of an inch in height? And, did you realize that your child has the olfatic ability to smell as many as 10,000 different odors. Your child (and mine) is literally a bundle of limitless potential! As parents, our job is to help unlock that positive potential!
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect potential, how would you rate your own personal potential? If you’re like most people you would likely rate yourself lower than a 10. Possibly much lower.
Failure to fully recognize our potential is one of the greatest tragedies of our society today. Even sadder still is that our assessment of ourselves often spills over to what we think about our children, ultimately reflecting in how we parent them. As parents, we have the responsibility to look for the potential inside each of our children and encourage and equip them to achieve it. Our children are happiest when they can fully express who God made them to be. This type of training requires insight, faith and wisdom.
I love the historical story of a woman who possessed these insightful, faithful and wise characteristics. Her name was Jochabed; her son’s name was Moses. Her story simply states that as she looked on her infant child she ‘saw that he was beautiful.’ Now, I doubt she was merely looking at his outward physical features. (Most newborn babies aren’t usually that attractive!) I believe what Jochabed was envisioning, was the beautiful potential of her child.
As the story goes, the king of the day was very nervous about future rulers overthrowing his dynasty. The grape-vine suggested that one such child was recently born. So, out of fear, the king ordered all the baby boys to be murdered. With a heart to preserve her child’s potential, Jochabed carefully concealed Moses in a basket and courageously sent him down the Nile River. Eventually, the basket found its way into the hands of the kings’ own daughter who hired a woman to hide the child and secretly raise him for a few years. Without realizing, she hired the child’s own mother!
After sending her baby down the Nile River, Jochabed got her baby back! Why? I can only imagine that Moses was divinely returned to his own mother because she had the insight, wisdom and faith necessary to unlock her sons’ potential!
Like Jochabed, we have our children for a few brief years to cultivate their potential. We can start by expecting the best from them.
I once found this story in Family Times Magazine (I apologize for not having the complete footnote on this source).
‘You can have a brighter child, it all depends on your expectations. Let me tell you about Harvard social psychologist Robert Rosenthal’s classic study. All the children in one San Francisco grade school were given a standard I.Q. test at the beginning of the school year. The teachers were told the test could predict which students could be expected to be high academic achievers. The researchers then secretly drew names out of a hat, telling the teachers that these were the children who had a higher potential. Naturally, the teachers thought they had been selected because of their test performance and began treating these children as extra special.
Months later, another standard IQ test was taken. The most amazing thing happened. The children treated as “special” averaged four more I.Q. points on the second test than the other group of students. However, the gains were most dramatic in the lowest grades. First graders whose teachers expected them to advance intellectually jumped 27.4 points, and second graders increased on the average 16.5 points more than their peers. One little Latin-American child who had been classified as mentally retarded with an I.Q. of 61, scored 106 on the second test.
You see, how a child is treated has a lot to do with how that child sees herself and ultimately behaves. So, what’s the message for parents? Every child benefits from someone who believes in him, and the younger the child, the more important it is to have high expectations. You may not have an Einstein, but your child has potential! Expect the best and chances are, that’s exactly what you’ll get.’