Why push your son to be a doctor or a banker when he loves the outdoors? Nurture his talents to help him bloom on his own.
At a school reunion, after 20 years, people went down memory lane and took stock of their subsequent years; what they found was most illuminating. A 'dim-wit' during secondary years given up as 'no good' was an ace sports instructor who had brought glory to his college. A college that had no sports presence whatsoever, and had not produced any sports stars thus far, had become a force to reckon with.
To each his own
A girl who couldn't talk straight and get her sums right was a reputed Bharatnatyam dancer touring the globe and conducting presentations on the art! What do these examples - which could be of any school reunion across the globe - tell us? Doesn't it tell us that not everybody has to aim for that
Harvard admission or a Rhode scholarship? That you can still carve out
a niche for yourself and make a success of whatever you choose to do.
What is good for goose?
Many parents, perhaps unwittingly, place great emphasis on
academics - the three R's of education - reading, writing and
arithmetic - to the detriment of other talents and activities. While
that is important, no doubt, it must be realized that every individual
has an aptitude for certain things and may not be cut out for something
else. Once you realize this fundamental truth, it will be easier to
concentrate next on finding where the child's metier lies.
Does your daughter sway to the rhythm of music and is
drawn to it inveterately? Is your son always mouthing and enacting his
favourite cartoon characters, getting into their skin? Maybe there is in them the seed for a future musician or an actor which needs to be nurtured.
Talent-spotting, your brief
By the age of three when a child starts walking and talking
comfortably, by when he becomes socially adaptable and starts
pre-school, his personality starts to bloom. He or she may surprise you
with his or her likes and dislikes, at times making you wonder: 'From
where did my son or daughter get this trait, when both I and my husband
do not have it.' You will find that he or she has proclivities towards
some activities and couldn't care less about others.
You want to enroll him in a hobby class which teaches dancing
and are mighty disappointed that while the others take to it, he shams
it. Just let him be. Instead of venting spleen and forcing the chap to
do what you think may be good for him, try changing tack. It is time to
indulge in a bit of healthy talent-spotting when your child crosses
Work people do
Your son may not play cricket as good as the neighbour's child or get a medal in sports
activity, but he may excel in story-telling or on stage. Don't let him
think he is any less because he is not good at something like the other
child. As a parent, the best you can do is to expose your child to the
various professions and hobbies and let him decide the path to take.
Let the winds blow from all sides so that he can decide which way to
get carried away.
What you could do is to take him to a museum and
introduce him to the curator, for instance. When you go on a holiday to
a forest let him find out what the forest conservator does. Take him to
exhibition and let him meet the artists - painters or sculptors. Take
him out to plays and theatre. Every time you take your child out make a
conscious effort to tell him what people do or about the various
professions. Your brief is just to provide your child an environment
that is conducive for intellectual growth.
Hobbies and professions
This is a stage when you can help a child develop hobbies
as per his taste and aptitude. The time for choosing a profession comes
at a later stage, after he has finished schooling. That is when you'll
have to be abreast of the practical aspects of professional education and the scope to pursue that, which is a different ballgame altogether.
You can avail of vocational guidance, of course, but if you have
ensured that your child has nurtured several hobbies, it will make that
choice much easier.
In life, there are as many professions to pursue as
there are ideas. Today many of the high-profile and glamorous
professions are those that are off-beat, like the ones in food and
hotel industry. A good chef today earns international accolade as much
as he does an obscene remuneration. Mountaineers, adventurers,
photographers, herpetologists, interpreters - the list is endless - all
do interesting work that is as much a service to society as doctors' or
A prize-winning ad line comes to mind. The picture shows a
celebrity-potter at the wheel and the line reads: 'When I was a child
my parents told me not to play in mud.' Let us take a lesson out of
this. Let children bloom to their true potential without putting
unnecessary pressure or burden of our expectations on them. Let them
test the waters and swim freely. Don't sacrifice their interests and
personalities in a bid to keep up with the Jones's or Joshi's. Gently
guide them to be their own persons and to choose their hobbies and
professions to their liking.
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- The Indiaparenting Team