I promised last month that I would talk this time about the first reason that raising a GOOD kid is not a copy and paste process – each child is unique and uniquely called by God. Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us “[God] appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did this…in order to build up the body of Christ.” Each person (which includes our children) has a purpose and call assigned from God Himself; and in order to prepare us to live into this call, God has equipped us with spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are not simply the things that we are good at or even strongly enjoy doing (those are talents and passions). Spiritual gifts are given to us through the Holy Spirit and are meant to benefit the church and the advancement of God’s purpose. They breathe life into our worship and bolster our faith. Spiritual gifts are the compass that points us in God’s direction. So, how does this tie in to the good kid thing? A good kid is a kid chasing after God’s calling. To do that, he or she needs to know what that calling is. To know what that is, they need to discern their spiritual gifts. That’s where we come in, because this is an area where most people need a little guidance. This is the part where the little boy grows up from dreaming of being a superhero to joining the Army. When that little boy comes to us and tells us “I want to be a superhero when I grow up” we probably aren’t going to start googling “superhero training classes” or looking into the best places to find flame retardant unitards. We know that, as he matures as a person, his superhero dream will morph into a new reality. However, we can stop and talk to him about what part of being a superhero sounds the most exciting and fulfilling to him. Is it the helping people part? Or maybe it’s the special powers and responsibilities that appeal to him. Perhaps maybe it IS all about the flame retardant unitard. Getting insight into WHY being a superhero sounds exciting to the little boy can give us a glimpse into the kind of things the future could hold for him. The same can hold true for his spiritual gifts and God’s calling on his life. What part of his church life excites him? What does he look forward to doing each week or in the future as he gets older? When he sees himself as an adult in the church, what is he doing? Helping him discern those things can help lead him in the right direction – in God’s direction and the best way to start in on that process is to figure out our own fit. As parents, it will be much easier to guide our children in discerning their path and purpose if we are confident and secure that we are following ours.