Three ways to discover your child’s hidden brilliance

Journeying to discover the hidden brilliance

Once upon a time there were three nomads travelling across a desert. They had been journeying for many hours under a blazing sun, but as night drew in it quickly became cold, so they hurriedly set up their tents and began unrolling their beds. Suddenly, a bright light appeared on the horizon, and they stood as if transfixed. In all their wanderings they’d never seen anything like this before. The ball of light grew bigger and brighter the nearer it got, until finally the Divine Being stood before them.

It spoke.

“Go forth into the desert now, and collect as many pebbles as you can. Tomorrow will find you delighted, disappointed and very, very curious.”

That was it. No more. Just silence, and the blackness of the enfolding night.

The nomads spluttered with indignation.

One said, “Who does He think he is telling us to collect pebbles? I’m made for better things than that!”

Another said, “Well, he can’t be much of a God if he didn’t tell us mysterious secrets, or how to end poverty and suffering, or how to prevent global warming or irrigate the deserts.”

And the third traveller said, “He could at least have told us the winning lottery numbers, or how to become rich and famous!”

However, despite their grumblings, they all felt compelled to do as they were asked. Reluctantly they kicked the sand this way and that, and finally picked up a handful of pebbles. They tossed them unceremoniously into their saddlebags and then settled down for the night.

The next morning the sun rose like a furnace. All day long the men travelled in sweltering heat. As night drew in again they stopped to set up camp, but as one traveller rustled around in his saddlebag for tent pegs, his hand hit something hard and cold. He drew it out. To his amazement it was a diamond. He looked for more, and discovered that all his pebbles had turned to diamonds! He called his friends over and they discovered that their pebbles had turned to diamonds too!

You can imagine how delighted they were.

You can imagine how disappointed they were that they hadn’t collected more!

Then slowly they began to be curious about all the things in their lives that seemed so ordinary but might have value in ways they hadn’t yet discovered. Inconsequential things, perhaps. Things they had forgotten. Things or people they saw every day but had failed to really ‘see’. Their curiosity led them to discover much more hidden treasure than they could ever have imagined.


Uncovering their hidden brilliance

Your child is unique.

No one sees the world the way they do.

I know we all value our kids, but sometimes – if we’re honest – we see them as pebbles. Just ordinary. Always around. An every-day part of our lives that needs feeding, watering and helping with homework! We don’t always see the diamond that IS our child.

And that can hurt.

We want to see it, and we feel terribly guilty at times that we’re too busy, or just not in touch enough with our kids to recognise it when it flashes in the sand.

Well don’t panic. Here are three quick and easy ways to discover your child’s hidden treasure.

  1. Look

Watch them, without intervention, and see what they become absorbed by. What holds their interest in such a way that they lose all track of time? If they’re passionate about something it’s because they find it rewarding in some way. Chances are they’re either already very good at this thing, or because of their intense interest, they will be. It’s their little spark of brilliance. What is it?

  1. Listen

Listen to the stories they tell. What are the subjects they re-visit time and time again? What are the things they nag you to death about every week? That’s a HUGE clue as to what’s important to them.

What bothers them repeatedly? Teasing from an older sibling? Ridicule in the playground? Not being taken seriously by the teacher when they have a really creative off-the-wall idea?  These things could be obscuring their treasure. Uncover them and then deal with them so that they’re not holding your child back.

  1. Learn

Learn to do something they love doing. Even better, get them to teach it to you. Join them in their world – or at least go on vacation there regularly! Learn how to rollerblade or build stuff on Minecraft. Learn how to make bead necklaces or paint with acrylics. Whatever your child loves to do is a facet of their unique diamond.

These things don’t have to take long, but they will have a long-term effect as you learn to discover your child’s hidden, but very special treasure.

Which step are you going to focus on today?



Image courtesy of dexchao/

Story: inspired by “Pebbles”, in Nick Owen’s book, The Magic of Metaphor. Camarthen: Crown House Publishing Ltd, 2001.



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