The Best Gift You Can Give Your Child

By: Jennifer Jolly, Web Editor, ParentFurther

The word "sparks" can have different meanings for different people. A simple Google search of the word "sparks" returns dozens of results--anything from glowing images of fireworks to the official website for a women's professional basketball team. But the definition I'm most familiar with is one that gets thrown around our office daily. It's a word I've introduced into my regular vocabulary, and you should too.

Our Definition of Sparks:

Sparks [spa:rks] noun 1. An individual’s deepest passions and interests that give her or him meaning, focus, joy, and energy.

Each of us, young or old or in-between, has or can have at least one spark. A few people seem to know their spark from an early age, but most of us discover our sparks over time, through multiple opportunities and experiences.

At Search Institute, we've been talking a LOT about sparks lately. We love sparks because they're fun to discover, talk about, and share with others. We just created a brand new sparks curriculum that helps students learn about sparks in the classroom, and we're excited to be presenting a sparks webinar for parents later on this month.

But the hidden beauty of sparks is that the concept is backed by good research. We know that by discovering and supporting young people's sparks, we'll be raising a generation of resilient, successful, and caring kids. Sparks really are the best gift you can give your child.

So are you ready to start "seeing" your child's sparks yet? For inspiration, download and print off the handouts below, and be sure to check out some of great examples of sparks and sparks supporters in the videos below!

  • Download: Exploring Possible Sparks with Kids
  • Online Sparks Resources

    Jonathan Burkin and his spark supporter (his mom)

    Thomas Suarez - 6th grade IOS App Developer


    Sparks videos from Search Institute

    Thanks, Jennifer Jolly! I couldn’t agree with you more! I have been a dorm parent at Christchurch School in Virginia for twenty years – have helped parents raise lots of kids! – and we feel strongly about helping our students to find their “sparks!” Our school mission is founded on two core convictions 1) that every student comes to us with infinite value and 2) each student has infinite possibilities – possibilities that take a rich, diverse and challenging journey to discover and develop. At Christchurch School we’ve made it our life’s work to help our students find and develop their possibilities – their SPARKS!

    Our headmaster just tweeted out your article!

    Learn more at

    Jennifer Homer
    Christchurch School
    Dorm Parent


    I think a worthwhile goal for parents and teachers is to discover each child’s “spark.” I love this concept and agree totally with its significance. Your parenting video featuring the three sessions was a perfect avenue to help parents understand the importance of what they say and how they can discover their child’s “spark.” Encouragement is a key to a child developing his or her strengths.

    For a related, complimentary child’s activity, “My Strengths,” that was written to be used by teachers or any adult, view the link below:

    The great ideas to buy a gift for the children, the growing online market have given a vast choice to buy the gift you like.



    Love it and I love the Sparks video. It really hits home.

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