How to Help Your Child Find Their Passion
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
To be passionate about doing something, makes you excel at it. Talk to any successful individual (from a CEO to a rock artist), and you’re likely to find that they are passionate about what they do. No wonder, in today’s competitive world, parents have the tendency to constantly push children to find their passion, in the hopes that it can lead them to a successful life, a college degree and a fulfilling career.
But passion isn’t just about a successful career. It is about finding enthusiasm and excitement for something. Today’s youth can have multiple passions, and even changing passions. Parents play an important role in supporting children on this search.
Let Them Explore
Very few people come out of the womb knowing their “one true calling.” Children need to explore and experience multiple things in life before they settle on one. Provide a myriad of opportunities like visits to museums, outdoor experiences, sports events, or for older children even an access to a resource like TED talks can be enlightening. The idea is that the more things they see and experience (even if they don’t deep-dive into it), the more likely they are to find something that truly interests them.
Know your Child
This is perhaps the main (and most difficult) job of a parent. Kids can have a great passion for cricket one day, and just when you have enrolled them in a summer camp and bought all the gear, they will turn around and say they want to play the guitar instead. So, spend focused time with your child in unstructured open settings to really probe into what ignites them. Don’t be in a rush to push them into any one field. Ask open-ended questions and pay attention to your child’s interests.
Don’t Push your Passions on Them
Children emulate what they see around them. A favourite uncle’s intensity and commitment to his tech-based startup may appear to rub off on a child. But is it really what they are inclined towards? Or at the other end of the spectrum, an avid basketballer’s son may be more interested in staying indoors and pursuing painting. Resist the urge to judge your child’s choices in either case. Don’t impose your own dreams, whether realized or unfulfilled, on your child.
Focus on the Journey, not the Destination
Instead of worrying about your child’s passion, it would be more useful to expose them to opportunities passionately. Just like happiness, finding a passion should not, and cannot, be forced. To be successful in the long run, your kids need to learn how to pursue a passion. Show them that it is okay to take risks and that one should try new things even if they appear scary at first, or even that sometimes persistent practice can make up for a lack of inspiration.
Finding a child’s passion is like a treasure hunt and parents need to help kids find the right balance – so that they stay excited to find and pursue their passions, but don’t feel constrained by it.
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