His life unfolded much like any child’s until he hit the teen years. This is when his name was not only unique, but appropriate. Diversity. He was received so differently by the world; loved by his family, under scrutiny as a teen and judged by society.
Diversity is part of our family tribe. Yes, a tribe. We are not merely a ‘group’ of people living together. We are connected by many bonds. The ultimate goal: to live out our God given purpose.
Basic training of this team begins with Mom at the helm; managing the daily activities and instilling the values we live by.
Respect is the tune played throughout the day; for ourselves and others.
We learn to love and forgive one another.
Manners matter. This is life skill training for life beyond home ~ at school, work and with relationships.
Accepting responsibility for what we say and do.
Integrity development is a daily drill.
The unwritten book of expectations for behaviour and communication is followed as though memorized.
We are linked by a common theme learned over the years ~ how to go beyond obstacles to finding solutions. We make a collaborative effort to get along ~ most of the time, utilizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have learned how to help one another and assist each other to realize our true potential. Home is our safe haven where the environment allows us to go beyond our limitations to discover our gifts. There is joy in our tribe.
Diversity’s presence has added a whole new dimension to our tribe. He has moved us from being a tribe of tolerance to one of acceptance. Because of our love for our brother, we have stretched to understand his viewpoints by finding a common ground. From here, we can seek shared purposes, rich perspectives and motivations. Diversity has brought a vibrant outlook to our tribe that was previously absent.
So when your teenager throws a curve ball or embarks on a new journey, your team (your family)
has a choice:
A. You can reject him and stick to the status quo or
B. You can take an interest by learning what message is in his heart and accept this quality as a gift.
8 Steps to being a grateful recipient of the gift of diversity:
Sincerely show it; seek to understand.
Allow silence to be filled with your teen’s message. Remember,
God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason…
3. Powerful Communication
Reflect on how you speak, the message you are conveying, how it is received.
4. Expectations, boundaries and logical consequences need to be established
Be prepared ahead of time.
5. Live out your faith and values as the cornerstone to your tribe.
Model your expectations. Walk your talk. Teens want authenticity.
6. Learn to appreciate the gems and lessons within diversity
Step back and see what is really going on. Too much rigidity invites distance. Seek understanding. Search for the reflection of his heart.
7. Turn events into teaching moments. Build more life skills!
This is a good opportunity to develop broader perspectives on human behaviour beyond the walls of home; particularly in a world filled with diversity.
8. Consider sourcing out resources for parenting strategies and support.
Knowledge is power. Glean from others’ experiences and expertise. Be courageous and be vulnerable. Learn how to be your teen’s best coach in life.