As a kid, I remember going to family reunions and having older relatives ask me, “Joe, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

At that age, the only goals I had were to have my buddies come over and play ball, shoot BB guns, and go fishing. I didn’t have any long-range goals! But at every family reunion I’d get asked that question, and even though I was just a kid, it made me start thinking about it. 

I remember at one family reunion somebody asked me, “Joe what do you want to be when you grow up?”  

I said, “I want to be a forest ranger!” Growing up in east Tennessee, we would go to the Cherokee National Forest to trout fish and hunt. I had seen forest rangers there and remembered thinking, That must be a fun job! They get to wear a Smokey Bear hat, live in a log cabin up in the mountains, and hunt and fish anytime they want. That was right up my ally! Then I found out that being a forest ranger required eight years of college, and so I chucked that idea pretty fast! 

But those family reunions are what started getting me to think about my future goals. Even though I didn’t end up becoming a forest ranger, it made me start looking around and thinking about what my options could be.  

The Take Away:

A key to discovering your children’s gifts is communication. Make sure to take time to talk with your kids, not at them, and really listen to what they have to say. As a parent, you have the opportunity to be their biggest fan, their biggest cheerleader, their biggest coach, and pull out of them the gifts and abilities they never even knew they had! 

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