Dec 14, 2009


Why are your talents yours? How did you discover them? Did your mom and dad carefully watch you so that they would notice what you were naturally good at and then did they have unlimited money to help you pursue all your dreams? I fear I may have let some of my kids down in the "finding your talent" part of life. Sometimes I look at them and wonder which area I should have directed them towards?

Miriam fears she does not have any talents. As Christmas is approaching and people are wanting to purchase gifts for her she lamented to me the other day that she really needed a hobby so that she would be easy to buy presents for. Her soccer dreams got squished by Massachusetts. So I can no longer can buy a new soccer ball and cleats for her. She mentions frequently as her sisters are running circles around her that she does not have a talent. I have tried to explain to her that she does have talents they are just not like what everyone else has. She has a great sense of humor and that is a talent. She has compassion and that is a talent. She is a good listener and that is a talent. I know they do not have award banquets at school for those kinds of talents. I know you are never asked to "play the compassion" in church or invited to show everyone how well you listen. Can you imagine paying to watch someone listen? :) I asked her what she was interested in and she could not think of anything. I have been thinking about our conversation ever since we had it and wondering where I let her down?

How did I find my talents? How did my parents know that I would be pretty okay at playing the piano and singing? Did they notice I was always singing? Do they remember when I figured out how to play the top hand of, "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" all by myself? Or did they just get lucky? It seems to be important when you are in school to have something that you know you are good at. Something that gives you confidence. Something that maybe gives you a group to hang out with?

As the years have gone on it has been harder and harder to help my younger kids find what they are good at because I am so busy driving around the older kids to the activities they are good at and already established in :) Also, the cost of finding your kids talent is rising. High school charges us an awful lot for our kids to share their talents and the middle school in our town does not even offer extra curricular activities......which I could talk for awhile about, but I won't :)

My talents helped me to sail through high school but I have often wondered about how I never kept many of them up after that. Why did I not realize that I could still sing and play the piano in college? After I got married and no longer had a piano and had little kids and all practicing time disappeared I lost confidence in my talents and let them go. They are finally back and that has been bad because now that I am practicing more I seem to think I need a new Kawai piano :)

How far do you push a kid to find their talents? How do you know if they will say to you years down the road that they really wished you would have encouraged them to try that? I do not even really know how my kids ended up being soccer players and track runners. If you would have asked me in high school what my kids extra curricular activities would be I would not have said track and soccer.

Joe tried lacrosse for two years and it was miserable for all of us because he hated it so much. But I wanted to help him find friends in our new town and I wanted him to have something to do I just did not realize that I picked the one sport that every kid that lives in New England has played since he was born and is exceptionally good at. He starts high school next year and I am not sure if he is much into the "pursuing his talents" thing. Is that okay? Should I insist he try out for a sport? Zach always needed a little push to do something and then he was fine. Is that Joe too? Will he or I regret it someday if he does nothing? Ahh that regret it does love to show up and ruin a party huh?


Anonymous said...

Relax. Let her figure it out herself. It's not a big deal if a teenager/kid doesn't know what they are good at. Adults are still searching. There is no timeline that says you must discover your talent by age whatever or too bad. Maybe it isn't a parent's job to discover their kid's talents/hobbies. Follow where your child leads.

Anne Marie said...

It's really okay...I promise. My brother played lacrosse for one year and definitely decided he wasn't athletic at all, and he turned out quite okay (ended up joining the debate/speech team later and quite enjoyed it). There are so many talents that our society doesn't seem to emphasize enough in my opinion, particularly during the school being able to work well with other people, having good morals, or the ability to care about other people. We've very much become individual-focused and achievement (of the very measurable kind)-oriented. You've got great kids, and really, everything will turn out just fine. Sorry for the long sermon.

Pam Mueller said...

Interesting topic, one that I have thought of often over the course of my kids life.
I am just glad that someone has the guts to print what the rest of us deal with inside and don't know what to do about it.