I would like to say that I am the perfect humble father that didn't have to think about this question and had a list at the tip of my tongue. I am not. I am often far more aware of shortcomings than I am of strengths. This inquiry still applies to co-workers, friends and family if you don't have kids; no one gets a free pass on this one. My kids have me beat in athletics, disciplined planning, fashion sense, financial stewardship and mathematics. Given more time, I can figure out more. I had to put the Superman tights away early in my fatherhood career. If I am conscious of particular strengths of a particular human, then I won't color them a failure and write them off when it is discovered that they are not perfect in all things. Perfection is exhausting and unsustainable; a relationship can't survive the weight of this expectation. An air of humble graciousness will provide the opportunity for our humanity to flourish, flaws and all. I have tried living the perfect life, and after hitting the reset button, I am good for a good six minutes before reaching for the button again. If you are willing to buy into this for your kids, your own flesh and blood, how about for someone else's kid? Like your employees, your boss, your neighbor or the guy scanning your food at the checkout counter. The world is starving for these gracious exchanges and you have a choice with your next interaction; making a difference is worth it.
How do you express your appreciation of your kid's strengths? How do you encourage their growth? How often do you tell your stories of failure? Are you more aware of their failures or successes? How are they farther along when you were at their age?