Think back to when you were a child or even a teenager. What did you want to be when you "grew up?" A firefighter? A princess? A figure skater? A zoo keeper? Or, what activities you really enjoyed doing? Sports? Dance? Art? Writing?
Which, if any, of these are still your dreams or things you love to do? From toddler through adulthood, we spend time searching for what we are good at, what we enjoy or what is our passion. We likely had some guidance from parents, teachers or others around us that helped us along the way. How can you help your children to find their passion and discover their talents?
Explore different activities together
Risk being silly and get out of your comfort zone as you try new activities together. Sign up for different sports teams, join a dance class or learn to play a musical instrument. Take finances into consideration and modify where possible. Backyard sports, learning dances or even how to play an instrument with the help YouTube are some possibilities. Caring for animals, planting a garden, drawing pictures, writing stories or having an entrepreneurial business like a lemonade stand are some other ideas your child may be interested in trying.
It sounds crazy, but allow your children to quit, especially if misery sets in. This doesn't mean letting them give up after a hard day of frustration. After they've really tried to learn something new and it's not something they really enjoy, save your children (and yourself!) the torment and let them drop the activity. Avoid forcing children into activities they are not interested in. There's plenty of things that are "have-tos" in this life like homework and chores, but finding life's passion should not be one of those.
Trying new things or even sticking with old activities after a difficult week is hard. Support and encourage your children. Extinguish their self-doubt when appropriate and discuss their thoughts and feelings with them. Sometimes a little pep talk is all that is needed to keep going. If they're playing sports, show up for the games. Take an active interest in their musical practice and artwork. Be genuine and kind. Give constructive criticism and be sure to always point out their strengths. Help them with weaknesses. Teach children to make good choices in regards to the activities they choose. As they learn to listen to their inner self and be directed accordingly, they will find their passion and some inner peace.
Celebrate the diversity and different passions in your home
If you have more than one child, you know just how different each one can be. You don't have to have a family full of wrestlers or one that just does music. The different passions, especially when they differ from your own, contribute to your family dynamics. Each personality has something special to offer and contribute to the family. Just because you love theater doesn't mean your child will as well. Even if two of your kids love sports, that doesn't necessarily dictate that the rest of your family will have athletic talents. Enjoy the varying tastes and passions in your family. Cheer each other on as a family. Beauty in families is found while embracing the diversity of talents and passions of each individual.
Finding and doing what you love brings contentment and happiness. As each family member develops their talents and finds the activities they enjoy, the family atmosphere will become rich and full of life. Allow children to become what their inner self desires and encourage their individualism and growth. Choosing a variety of activities to participate in as a family will not only help children find what they really enjoy, but will also create a healthy environment of family bonding.
Wendy Jessen is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and frequently does media reviews. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.