When The Transformers made their debut in the US, it was 1984 – my freshman year in high school. Just a little too old for the action figures, I managed to watch the cartoon on occasion. The novelty of a car or plane transforming into a robot and battling the forces of evil still held appeal to this 14-year-old.
My parents never bought me one of the Hasbro action figures (poor me), but several friends had them. Transforming those toys from the vehicle into the robot seemed simple, but if one of my friends handed me the robot, transforming it back into the vehicle challenged me. I could not seem to “see” the vehicle and clumsily bent hinges and twisted appendages until something seemed to take form.
Occasionally, I forced an arm or leg in a direction it was not intended to go. You can imagine the result.
As dads, we want our kids to thrive and succeed as adults. How do we help them in this transition/transformation?
Forcing them into something we have in our minds could result in breakage.
Our job as dads is to help them discover what vehicle they can become. How do they engage, how do they learn, and how to they relate to others.
For this, I recommend another resource. Jenifer Fox wrote “Your Child’s Strengths” – an excellent resource to help identify what makes your kids tick, what stimulates learning, and how they interact with people
Marcus Buckingham, known for his strengths-based approach to personal/professional growth, wrote the forward. Dr. Fox does a very thorough job of unpacking this concept for kids. A warning – she unpacks a lot of information, but also provides great tools and resources.
If this passage from the book resonates with you at all, you may want to take heed:
“These days, with parents increasingly pushing their kids to excel and focus earlier, the consequences for children are worrisome. your child’s strength path is her own. take notice of her uniqueness and the things she naturally gravitates toward and allow her to explore those in ways that feel positive and comfortable to her.” (“Your Child’s Strengths” page 111)
I cannot wait to see what my son becomes, and hope I do not do anything to force him to become a 1984 Freightliner Semi when he is uniquely designed to become a 1983 Porsche 911 Turbo.
Those are references to Optimus Prime and Jazz in case you’re wondering.
What unique quality – different from one of yours – have you seen in your kids?