The Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo was once asked what he saw when he approached a large slab of marble. The artist responded, "I see a beautiful form trapped inside, and it is simply my responsibility to take my mallet and chisel and chip away until the figure is set free."
As parents, we can see the beauty and potential within our children long before they ever believe in what lies within them. Our children often go through stages in which they do not feel lovely, talented, successful, inspired, worthwhile, intelligent, skilled, etc. It is up to us as parents to see what is hidden deep within them--and to help that emerge by chiseling away at the exterior, the hard, sometimes-cold, "rock" that is hiding all of those outstanding qualities and talents that only we as their parents can see.
In all of our older children's lives, Ray and I have had to be the "sculptor" at various points. I can remember specifically a time that our now-talented, capable, responsible, creative, and servant-minded twenty-two year old felt that she was not as able, smart, and accomplished as her two older siblings. I remember lying in bed, fretting about how to help her become all that God had for her.
Not long after, we began chiseling with more vigor--allowing her opportunities to take sign language classes, attend more advanced piano lessons, experiment with various crafts, work with different people groups in ministry, speak in various settings,etc. We encouraged--and we chiseled.
In no time, it seemed, Cami was thriving--and realized that she was emerging as a true work of art. Now she is the director of a large disability ministry, married to a godly man whom she partners with in serving "the least of these," and uses all of those skills that we saw within her and helped her develop--artistic design, piano, public speaking, organization, sign language, ministry, and much more.
What chiseling does your child need? Do you need to work on this "sculpture" even more than you have been? Do you need to look more deeply within the hard cement at what God has for your child? Do you need smoother tools? Truly, our children are works of art from God--and we are His hands on this earth to help them--and others--see the beauty within them.