Have you ever had a conversation with someone who really reeked of resentment and lost opportunity from the past? Besides leaving you wishing for the sweet release of death, these conversations normally offer you a very important takeaway: If you get caught up in the past, you will most certainly lose sight of what’s to come.
Unfortunately, when this trap ensnares a fellow dad, it often manifests itself in the form of living vicariously through your children. We all know how “little Johnny” loves the fact that dad makes him play football because he never got to. Or how about the three hours of piano lessons because dad is convinced that if he had been pushed like this he would have ended up in Juilliard.
But guess what? It isn’t about you! As parents, we are tasked with the responsibility of encouraging the talents and abilities of our children, not superimposing our own.
Why Passion Is Practical
I suppose that there will always be some that thumb their noses at the relevancy that passions play in our lives. We should be teaching our kids to make practical choices right? But who is to say what is practical? You may get lucky and your idea of practicality might actually play into your child’s strengths. But what if it doesn’t? Could it mean that you may have to alter your perception a bit?
If only passion were practical right? Oh….but it is!
If you are doubtful, then do yourself a favor and pick up “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” co-authored by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. Centered on a 2 million person study conducted by Gallup, the book dialogs on the makeup of strengths and how our attention towards these can drastically increase our effectiveness in life. In essence, the authors argue that if we are to enjoy and succeed in what we do, we need to be engaged in the areas of our talents and passions.
For you visual learners out there: talents + passion + experience = strengths -> = effectiveness. I don’t know about you, but to me that screams practicality!
How Do You Do It!
First, let me reassure you that you aren’t going to need to get a degree to figure this out. What you are going to need is a discerning eye and a willingness to become a student of your children.
Watch them. What do they gravitate toward? Are they particularly fond of a certain subject in school? Do they have an affinity for words and reading? Do they tend to seek excitement and adventure? Maybe helping others invigorates them. Whatever the outcome, the importance is that you identify these attributes and then help your kids facilitate their growth.
The awesome reality here is that these passions can take many forms. You might have a child whose gifts lead them to a rewarding career in accounting, while the other ends up as a missionary on the other side of the globe. And, do you know what? You’ll know that it was the right thing either way!