A Child Natural Strengths and Affinities

Fostering Strengths, Knacks, Talents, Intuitions and Affinities

A child's natural strengths and affinities are a key part of his unique mind. Once these powerful pulses are identified, parents must actively support them.  Strengths have to undergo strengthening on the home scene.  Even when a child's strong points don't coincide with what a mother or father would have chosen from a prenatal menu, parents must see to it that there are plenty of opportunities to nurture them.  children never stop yearning for applause, especially from their parents.  Parents must never offer false praise, accolades should reward what a kid clearly excels at.

Neglected or suppressed strengths are like infections under the skin, eventually they cause serious damage.  Some years ago, I evaluated Mark, a seventeen year old boy who had been incarcerated twice in a juvenile detention center for drug dealing and other antisocial offenses.  This teenager had a long history of frustration and humiliation in school because of unremitting dysfunctions of his attention production controls, temporal sequential ordering and receptive language.  He suffered delays across the board in reading, written output, spelling and math.

The very thought of writing elicited his rage.  Mark spoke well and conveyed the impression that he was very bright yet not the least bit inclined to succeed in school.  Somehow I must have won his confidence because during our interview, Mark allowed me access to his private sketchbook.  I was astounded totally taken with his artistic talent and originality.  Mark's drawings had never been on display anywhere.  Furthermore, he had never received an art lesson.  He was ingenious at designing and building forts as a kid, he built and rebuilt his own and was a leading fort consultant in the neighborhood.  This boy showed remarkable intuition when it came to problem solving in the domain of construction.  Nobody ever picked up on this.  His mind was telecasting what is was wired to do well, but nobody tuned into the program.  His family never particularly noted or strengthened his artistic and spatial abilities.

Happily, I can report that Mark eventually succeeded.  We managed to get him to attend a community college, where he took some art and computer classes.  One young faculty member developed an interest in Mark and served as a powerful mentor, offering this kid the encouragement and praise that was so long overdue.  Eight years later Mark is a highly successful designer of Web sites for obstetricians, having launched his own business.  In addition, Mark has been taking night courses as possible preparation for becoming an architect (a triumphant rerun of his earlier fort designing). 

A close call, Mark's life was on the brink of futility, partly due to long-standing strength neglect complicated by chronic success deprivation and a near total loss of motivation.

Written By:
A Mind At a Time By Melvin D. Levine

Word Meaning:

Affinities - a natural liking, taste, or inclination towards a person or thing.

Accolades - strong praise or approval; acclaim.

Elicited - called forth from a latent or potential state by stimulation; "evoked potentials"; "an elicited response".

Futility - lack of effectiveness or success

Incarcerated - lock up or confine, in or as in a jail.

Obstetricians - a physician who specializes in obstetrics (Medicine / Gynecology & Obstetrics).

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