Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Your Prodigy

Do you have one? I think we, as parents are trying our best. Some try harder than others. Do you push your child to be smarter, more athletic? Have you decided where YOU want your child to go to college or what he should major in? What about who their future spouse should be? (I am not talking about cultures who arrange marriages. For purposes of this posting, I am referring to overbearing parents who do not participate in cultural practices such as this.) For instance:

My friend Pogo and her 5 year old son are bombarded each morning at school with a certain other parent and her 5 year old daughter. This other parent regularly makes remarks about how cute Pogo's son is and how he is the cutest one in class and wouldn't they be sooo cuuute together. What is wrong with her? They are 5!!!

Are you happy in your current profession? Chef, homemaker, programmer, dishwasher? Did you go to college or a technical school? Have a high school diploma or GED? These are all preparations for that future dream job. I think I have one now - I stay at home with my boys and homeschool them. Will we do this until graduation? Probably. Am I sure? NO. I do know that I've stuck with this for the past 7+ years. Longer than any "career" choice I've made thus far. I have 5 Associates Degrees and don't use them. I never found out that secret - what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had an inkling towards art. Started college, realized I didn't really know what I was doing or worse yet, lacked the confidence in what I was doing. Yet time and time again, I choose activities, college courses, self studies that revolve around the art world. So maybe I knew it long ago, I just didn't have the confidence to act on it.

I do think there are ways you can guide, not push, your child to help them excel. I just finished reading about helping your child find their strengths. Think about it. If you know what you are good at, it makes it easier to make a decision about what types of careers will be a good fit for you. Think "What color is your parachute?" by Richard Nelson Bolles. (by the way, I fibbed on that self-quiz too - I'm hopeless) If your daughter loves horses and riding horses and talking about horses, then maybe, just maybe she'll own a horse farm one day or be a veterinarian. If your child loves to draw and has a great imagination, maybe they'll be perfect as a set designer, video game designer or a portrait artist. The key is to pay attention to your children and see what THEY are interested in. When you find out, try to find ways to immerse them in that interest. Some of these interests will wane and the kids will move on to the next great love of the day. Be ready to move on with them.

My oldest currently loves rocks and drawing. You've seen some of his art already. (yes I am making you see "it" again) We have more rocks IN our house than we do OUTside of our house. If you've been introduced to my son, then you have probably been asked by him if you "want to see some cool crystals" . Will he be a geologist one day? or an artist? or an artist who paints rock formations? Who knows! Frankly, who cares, he's only 7. But you can believe that we continue to purchase or find rocks. We study them and plan field trips. Even though I feel qualified to teach him art, I have him enrolled in an art class. I have drawers and cabinets bulging with art supplies. I don't suggest that you have to spend great sums of money to foster these interests because we all know they come and go like fads. But do invest TIME. Invest in his CONFIDENCE. Make sure she knows she can do anything she puts her mind to.

They may just find out what they want to be when they grow up.

I apologize I don't have a resource to offer. I can't for the life of me remember what I was reading that prompted this thought. I'm just so gosh darn happy I had a thought. If I remember, I'll post in a later blog.

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