Written by Genie Price
As every parent will attest – babies are curious beings. From the moment they are born, they are exploring. They mimic others and they also learn their own ways as they go. However, when curiosity is lost, so is a passion for life.
While some children come out of the womb knowing what they want to do in life, others wander around without any inkling of a specific focus until early adulthood.
It’s hard to think about their future and what they want to be when they “grow up”, while still trying to figure out how to be kids. Every day our kids send us signals about what interests them that can translate into a lifelong passion.
What can we do to help our children nurture these desires and their purpose without taking over?
Here are some ways in which you can foster their curiosity and help them discover what lies beneath.
Give them the freedom to explore:
One way to help your child discover a passion is to let them be just that – a child. Let them explore the world around them and expose them to new things. By visiting such places as museums and libraries and by reading about creators, inventors or great leaders, you can open the door to a potential desire.
By doing this, you have to make a few sacrifices. You may have to open your basement for science experiments’ to take part in or you may have to begrudgingly eat that blackened cake, made by your one and only, for your birthday. But, the exciting thing is, when parents can give their children the freedom to explore and choose what they enjoy, only then can this desire be nurtured.
While experts believe identifying your child’s natural talents will help them be successful, it can also help parents make the most of the resources available to them. An environment rich with opportunities to learn can give your child the best chance of developing their full potential.
Let your child plan a weekend:
This one is fun!
Let your child decide on the events for the weekend. Put them in charge. Give them a budget and help them to research ideas that they would enjoy. Make only one rule: that it has to be something that motivates and excites them. The options are (almost) endless – your child’s imagination will run wild with ideas – ideas which you can later use to foster the continued journey.
You never know – you may find yourself climbing trees to catch butterflies or end up engineering a four bedroom fort out of drift wood!
Introduce your children to others in the field:
So, your baby (teen) girl wants to be a vet nurse and your boisterous boy wants to play in a band. Another great way to cultivate the passion that lies beneath is by letting them experience it firsthand.
Give them music lessons and see how it goes. Let your daughter volunteer at the local pet shop so she gets a feel for the “role and responsibility” and if they are both still there after twelve months, it’s most likely you have hit the nail on the head.
That’s not to say they won’t later change their minds, but for now, it’s a pretty good start.
Model your own passion:
Children learn by imitation. Therefore, to introduce your children to have an ongoing hobby, show them first by being their teacher.
Many parents have hobbies. Maybe you like to sketch and your daughter wants to be an artist. Let her watch and learn everything she can from you! Afterwards, give her the opportunity to try and let her lead the way; she could very well become the next Gwendolyn Knight.
If you don’t already have a hobby you are passionate about, find one that fits you. If necessary, try a few that meet your needs and ones which can be cultivated easily.
When our young are encouraged to explore and create, they will start to feel that they are “good” at something, like music, sports, math, or something else. This is where they gain an authentic sense of achievement and of self. They become more confident in themselves and believe that they have what it takes to succeed at school, work, and other areas of life. By being an active parent and playing facilitator, you will be able to start connecting your child’s natural passions to clubs at school, summer programs and, eventually, a career. Along the way, they might even think that you’re pretty cool, too.