Discovering the Wisdom and the Wonder of Who Your Child Was Meant to Be
September 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2213-2
Parents don’t determine who their kids become. They steward them into who they’re meant to be.
One of the most common myths in parenting books—you see it everywhere—is that parents are responsible for who their children turn out to be. Proper input yields proper output, or so the thinking goes. But that mindset works with machinery, not people. The truth is, your child has a unique set of traits—their giftedness—that only they possess. The parent’s job isn’t to crank out a product, but to point an individual human being toward a healthy, flourishing life.
In So How Do I Parent This Child?, brother and sister duo Bill Hendricks and Bev Hendricks Godby team up to help you understand the difference between producing a product and parenting a person. They take you through all the stages of child rearing—from diapers to driver’s licenses to diplomas—to give you a comprehensive look at how identifying giftedness and helping your children discover it for themselves makes all the difference.
As a parent, you’ve got a lot of challenges ahead. But with intentionality and an individualized approach, you’ll see your kids grow up to become the mature and confident adults that they’re intended to be.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Bev Godby is a senior associate and change management coach at The Giftedness Center in Dallas, Texas. She focuses on graduating students and women who are navigating challenging life transitions. She feels called to the role of an educator, teaching others about giftedness to help them find fulfilling lives. She serves as a consultant to schools and nonprofit organizations, and speaks and writes often on these topics. Bev holds degrees from Wheaton College and The University of Texas at Dallas. She is married to Dr. Dale Godby, with whom she has three married daughters and six grandchildren.
Bill Hendricks is Co-Founder and President of Global Centre for Giftedness, which seeks to mobilize a worldwide movement of Giftedness Guides — people who know how to help others discover their giftedness and then apply those insights to the major areas of their lives. This is an outgrowth of his longtime consulting practice, the Giftedness Center, which helps individuals think through strategic life and career decisions. In addition, Bill serves as the Executive Director for Christian Leadership at The Hendricks Center, a leadership development initiative of Dallas Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Harvard University, Boston University, and Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently a doctoral student at Bakke Graduate University. He is married to Lynn Turpin Hendricks and is the father of three accomplished daughters.
Parenting is a long journey of faithfulness in the same direction, but there are no guarantees as to where that journey will go. Nevertheless, the more you can understand about the giftedness of your child, the more you’ll be able to come up with wise, intentional choices that make sense for that child. Every day, with every encounter, you create the kind of relationship you will have with your child for a lifetime. So here are some ways in which giftedness can provide you with a solid framework for that all-important work.
1. Giftedness gives you a glimpse into the why for your child. Every baby is here on purpose, for purpose, to be for this time and space as the very person they are born to be. You must never lose sight of that truth. While there will always be a combination of factors affecting your child’s path in life, their giftedness remains the central factor. That returns them home and that lets you know what is most right with your child.
Like the stars, your child emanates light. That light may flicker at times, but it always embodies the splendor of a radiance that is all their own. So when you devote time to observing your child’s behavior and watching their path over time, you become more attentive to the great wonder of their presence in your life, and to the joy they display in shining their own brightness, exactly as it was meant to be.
2. Giftedness reminds you of the power of story. You as a parent have been invited into your child’s story, not as the author, but as the trusted representative of the grace that holds your child. You do that by responsibly caring for their needs and shepherding their heart on the path of life, always with the goal of extending radical, unconditional hospitality.
Whether you or your spouse gave birth to your little one, or whether you brought them into your home through fostering, adoption, or some other committed relationship, be aware that your role in their life will always take you back to the immutable truth of their personhood. You don’t make that personhood; it comes written into your child’s being. That reality should inspire a deep humility, as well as a deep desire for discernment as you contemplate the part you are being asked to play in your child’s story. Your presence in it is privileged, and with each and every interaction you have with your child, it is good to remind yourself that you are standing on the holy ground of unique giftedness. Everything you do there matters.
3. Giftedness is an engraved invitation to joy. You can read all the child-rearing manuals you will, listen to as many podcasts as you wish, and absorb as much well-intended advice from other parents as you can handle, but none of that can ever replace the initial wonder and overwhelming gratitude you had at that first moment when you fell in love with this one-of-a-kind person you now know as your child. That child’s giftedness will reveal the extraordinary treasure of who they are, restoring you to “gladness of heart” on the days when you weather the very real doubts and demands that come with being a parent. As you watch your child take in the beauty and loveliness of this world for the first time with delight, you discover they are calling you to taste and see the goodness of this life as never before, inspiring you to enter each new day with expectancy and hope.
These are the scaffolding that support you in being the parent you most want to be and who your child needs you to be.
After that, most everything else about parenting is improvisational art. There’s no definitive “how to” resource that you can order from Amazon or anywhere else that walks you through a DIY process of constructing your child. None at all, because let’s face it, your child is someone the world has never seen before!
My wife and I have been the direct beneficiaries of both the knowledge and practice of the phenomenon of giftedness, and we wholeheartedly endorse this book. It’s fully practical and should be required reading for every parent, grandparent, and godparent looking to influence their child’s life development. Thank you, Bill and Bev. You have blessed us immensely with this one!
– Evan & Stacie Nicole Simmons
President & Vice President, One in Christ Jesus International Ministries
It’s funny, but what often annoys you the most about your child might just be their giftedness simply pushed to an extreme. The point is, when you look at your children through the proper lens, what often wants to bring the worst out of you suddenly becomes an opportunity for you to bring the best out of them. This new book by Hendricks and Godby shows you exactly how to figure out your child’s unique giftedness and then harness it for their greater joy and everybody else’s good.
– Tim Kimmel
Author of Grace-Based Parenting
As an administrator of a school for more than thirty years, I would place this book on my must-read to every parent and grandparent in my school. It’s that important and insightful! This delightful book is like being on a treasure hunt and you find out that the treasure is YOU!
– Mary Helen Noland
Director of Admissions at Trinity Christian Academy