Parents of talented children must not take special credit

Q: I have a daughter who is gorgeous. She is only 19 but she has already had a number of modelling contracts and has been asked to play hostess for a significant fund-raising event in the city.

She is going to make a lot of money. Her agent thinks that movie contracts are not beyond possible and he is eager to start checking out the international market for her career.

So far my daughter has kept her wits about her and she has not let the extra attention go to her head.

I want my daughter to value that in life that is of merit — the strength of a genuine relationship, the value of our church, the miracle of life in the country and the magic that goes with those who are not pretentious. But I do not know how to go about this. What can I do to help her?

A: Your daughter is not unlike any number of young people who have special abilities.

Some young people are exceptionally intelligent.

Other young people have exceptional athletic skills. Some kids are incredible musicians, while others can paint or draw amazing masterpieces.

Then there are those kids who seem to naturally fit into life on the farm. They may or may not study farming once they have graduated from high school but it does not matter. They learn from whatever they do and they plant those seeds of wisdom wherever they go.

Dealing with young people with special abilities is no different than is dealing with any young person. The most important rule is to remember that whatever the young person achieves, it is his or her victory.

You must have a clear line of distinction between what the young person achieves and what you have accomplished. If you don’t, if you in some way start taking credit for what your son or your daughter has done, you run the risk of being of no value to anyone.

Don’t forget that no matter how good or otherwise your son or your daughter is, he or she is going to fail somewhere along the way. Helping our children through their low points is what makes us parents. We get the strength our kids need from us through our own achievements, not from their successes.

Celebrate your daughter’s victories in the fashion parade with her, and at the same time let her into your moment of pride when your egg salad sandwiches sparkle the Sunday School picnic.

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