I believe in acknowledging the gifts we possess. I believe the most important thing us parents can do for our children is to help them discover their talents. Some seem to know from an early age they want to be kindergarten teachers, pastry chefs, or concert pianists. I wasn’t one of them and never knew where I fit in. My parents divorced when I was two. My father had custody. After that, he remarried twice before I was twelve leading me to have two stepmothers and a childhood of feeling shy and shuttled between households. Needless to say, encouraging my gifts or taking me to afterschool activities wasn’t a priority.
My mission as an adult has been self discovery. Now at thirty-three, I know what I am good at. I want to shout it out, own it, and tell everyone “I am a writer.” I may be quiet, but not on paper! For children, life shouldn’t be bogged down with parent’s priorities, it should be about finding out what makes them unique.
I believe creative play is as important as showing up for work.
I believe it’s important to be good at something. I believe talent holds as much significance as a college degree. In high school, having a talent or two seems to be the most important where one’s self definition comes from the groups involved with. For me, I wanted to be a cheerleader. Never mind I had never taken gymnastics class. Then, it was dance. If I wasn’t coordinated enough for cheerleading, then there was no hope of performing at pep rallies. I wish someone had told me, while I was growing up, what I was good at. Then I would have taken that job on the yearbook staff seriously. Maybe I would have majored in philosophy or learned to sew in home economics.
I believe that when parents pay attention, they see what comes natural when children can’t see if for them selves. Paying attention isn’t easy. It requires honesty. It means sometimes saying I know you want to take ballet, and, you can if you want to, but you are really good at softball. It means saying, “Way to go” or “That is a wonderful drawing.”
So how am I finding out what my gifts are later in life? I’m acting like a first grader. I’m doodling in my journal and indulging in daydreaming. Instead of the Easy Bake oven, it’s experimenting with grown up recipes that use Curry Paste or Lemon Thyme. I’m signing up for Sewing 101, Water Colors, and children’s book writing.
I believe it’s never too late to bring forth talents.
How am I encouraging my daughter’s gifts? I’ve noticed she is rather athletic. I may have not been good at sports, but her soccer coach says she is out- of- this- world. I am listening and gently nudging, “You are a natural.” The laundry can wait while I take her to practice.