Okay, let’s keep rolling…
Now we have started to recognize the talent that our child has. What a wonderful and proud moment this is as a parent. Seeing anyone do what they love to do is a blessing, but seeing a child do it is even better. It’s better because they are doing it within the framework of the world they live in. The one filled with love, and endless possibilities. It’s really awesome. Isn’t that the world you want to live in? Actually it is the world we live in, we just can’t see it because of all the darn clutter…but that’s another post…
Not too long ago, my wife and I were amazed at how our two kiddos have developed into pretty impressive little entertainers. They are both very much into singing and music. We jumped in and went ahead with piano, guitar, and voice lessons. After my boy’s rousing rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” in his school’s 3rd grade talent show, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Our little girl is now starting to go the way of the karaoke machine, and just absolutely loves to play the piano.
If I had relied on my own intuition (yes, us dads have this, too), I would have just pushed the boy into sports and the girl into ballet. Now, our daughter has taken ballet, but prefers gymnastics, soccer, and swimming. And the boy has played soccer, baseball, and is a purple belt in karate; but is seems at this point in their lives, they have a desire to pursue music and a natural talent for it.
Enough about me, already….you have certainly started to notice those things that your own children love and are naturally gifted at, and you have offered encouragement and support. So now what? Well, now it’s time to work on that talent!
Talent and skill that learns to work hard and constantly improve will become outstanding in every sense of the word.
Working with your child is paramount to their success in life.
This is not like forcing your child to play tennis from the time they are able to stand until they are 17, for seven hours at a time, in lieu of friends, fun, laughter, and the other stuff that they really like to do…unless, of course, this is the thing that they believe in, and the thing that they dream about and want to pursue.
Because, here’s the thing…even if they did end up being a Wimbledon champion, the truth is that if this is not what they were born to achieve, at the end of the day and after the trophy is losing it’s luster, they will sit very still and realize that their childhood dream was lost somewhere out there on the tennis courts. They will remember the screaming and the yelling. They will remember that you made them do it. But now, after all of the dust has settled, they will feel a degree of regret and sadness.
That sounds really dramatic I know, but I think it should. Because I believe it is a message that we need to hear loud and clear as adults. Our children are real individuals, just like we are, and they deserve that respect and consideration.
You do have to work with them, and there will be times when practicing their craft or talent means skipping a sleep over, or not catching the ice cream truck in time, but in the end, if they are working hard on their passion…it will be worth it to a degree that is difficult to express with mere words. Just imagine yourself, having achieved that one thing that you wanted more than anything else in this world when you were a child. If you’re not smiling right now…I can’t help you…
So what is working hard if it is not grueling and structured and tough and all those wonderful pictures we have in our heads now that I’ve described the tennis player…
Well…working hard doesn’t really seem like hard work if one working is involved with what they are totally passionate about. This applies to kids as well.
I don’t think we have to be overbearing or obsessive. I just think that we need to teach them that their degree of success and satisfaction is directly related to how much of their own effort they will put into their craft.
If your son or daughter is an artist, then they need to draw, or sculpt, or write. If they are into acting, then they need to be in plays and performances, and speech classes. If they are basketball players, then buy a hoop. If they are into magic, get a trick deck of cards, and encourage them! But make sure that they are working on whatever it is they want to do.
It’s not that different from what I have said to people over the years, who were looking to better themselves; “Figure what you are really good at, and just keep doing it”. If it something they truly love, then they will want to get better, by nature. And the more they work at it, the more the natural ability will start to flourish. They can go from good to great, and from great to exceptional, to the exact degree that they put time and energy into their craft.
Hard work and persistence are the keys to success. They are the habits that all people who have achieved greatness have in common. And when the true gifts of an individual are combined with an unwavering desire to be the best, the only result that can come is absolute excellence. Hard work is required of all.
Listen to this quote by Calvin Coolidge:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
The message is a very clear one.
Look, this little blog series I’m doing is about teaching our children. So, I’m not suggesting that at age 4 the child will know exactly what their life’s purpose is, and they better start burning the midnight oil or they will miss the miracle of their destiny, and live a life of misery. I’m not that kooky….right?
What I’m saying is that the lesson is an invaluable one. When you want to be the best at what you love to do, you have to constantly be at work to perfect your talent. The lesson they learn now may not fully sink in until they are 12 or 17 or 25 or 42….but it will NEVER sink in, if you haven’t taught it to them. That’s the rub.
Teach them the value of working hard at what they enjoy.