By: Becky Post
For many parents, our children’s interests quickly become our own. If your child is involved in some kind of athletics, you probably arrange your family’s life around practices, games, and tournaments.
Nurturing your child’s interests—those sparks—is a great investment. When your child finds an activity that he or she naturally feels motivated to pursue, learning opportunities occur. When a child takes up a new interest like dance or photography, he or she doesn’t usually even know the basics. They start at the beginning and, with guidance, begin to build skills and expertise. They learn to stick with the process, despite setbacks and frustrations.
Supporting our kids as they pursue their sparks requires parents to practice some “sticking with it” as well. Our lives can be complicated by our kids’ schedules, their hobbies and activities might be expensive, and kids may have trouble juggling their school and family responsibilities. So sometimes, it’s not quite so simple to enjoy our children’s creative and athletic pursuits.
I came across some great advice in Patricia Hoolihan’s book, A Moment Peace for Parents of Teens: 365 Rejuvenating Reflections. Ms. Hoolihan, the author of several books, had been helping host a cast party for a play her son was in. She writes, “I was struck by what a wonderful and fun-loving group this was. Someone was banging out tunes on the piano, completely by ear, with others wandering in and out to sing along. Laughter, affection and an easy cheerfulness overflowed in the room…. I was struck by this delightful group of human beings. The energy in the air was contagious and I felt lucky to be there.”
Ms. Hoolihan concluded with a wonderful reminder to readers: “I will do one thing this week to honor and connect with the creative and energetic part of my teenager.”
If you’re interested in learning more about nurturing your child’s sparks, join us for an upcoming free webinar. The Perseverance Process: Discovering Your Child's Sparks will be presented by Kent Pekel, Ed.D., President and CEO of Search Institute, on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 12PM - 1PM, CDT Register now >>
Rebecca Post is the director of content development at Search Institute. She has worked as a book editor for most of her career. She and her husband are successfully surviving the empty nest, now that their only child is in college.