Parents: Celebrate Your Children’s Gifts

The Coalition for Christian Outreach: ‘Discovery and Affirmation Are the Best Approaches for Your Child’

December 7, 2020

PITTSBURGHCoalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) recognizes that parents do their job best (and enjoy it most) when they consider themselves explorers, seeking to discover and affirm the unique person God designed each child to be. When a parent treats a child’s unique design as a wonder, that child grows in both emotional and spiritual health.

Dan Dupee, former Chairman of the Board for CCO, explains, “If God, the Creator, is the author of all strengths, we need to be discovering and affirming those strengths in the context of our homes, beginning when our children are very young. And we need to be giving God the credit.”

Even when their children are at the youngest ages, parents can discover and affirm natural talents. According to Dupee, “This is co-shaping with God. Appreciation for the expression of a child’s interests and gifts helps build confidence and a better relationship between parent and child. Talking about God-given gifts throughout childhood prepares a child to begin discerning his or her vocational direction.

“It might be difficult to talk like this to your child at first, especially if your parents didn’t offer much by way of verbal affirmation,” says Dupee. “Noticing what others do well and affirming them for it is like using a muscle. It may take a while to get conditioned if you have not been using that muscle much. No matter how awkward you feel at first, do not back off or give up on the habit of affirming your kid’s strengths. Make yourself accountable with another mom or dad. We meet too many kids on college campuses who arrive starved for the affirmation and approval of their parents.”

As kids approach their teen years, strengths-based approaches are available to help them gain greater clarity as to how God has designed them. Such approaches can help both parent and child to be on the lookout for particular expressions of how God uniquely made each of them.

“This knowledge not only serves as affirmation and a guide to the child, it helps the parent avoid the trap of trying to mold the child into his or her image,” says Dupee. “Knowing our child’s gifts helps us rediscover the wonder we felt at his or her birth.”

The college and university campus is the most strategic mission field in the world, with only 2% of students being reached with the Gospel. CCO partners with local church congregations to help students feel a sense of belonging. A community is formed between the CCO staff and students, who are invited into the lives of local congregations. Through this community of fellowship, CCO is able to minister to the students in a life-changing way.


To interview Dan Dupee or for more information about Coalition for Christian Outreach, contact, Nick DiFazio, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.