Each and every one of us has some talent that comes naturally to us. For me, it is Carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music. I always loved music even as a child. But, to be honest, shy as I was, I enjoyed singing in the privacy of my home, more than anywhere else. And then I was introduced to Carnatic music as my mom officially got me into a music class.
I was the only kid in the class, so I had no choice but to sing out loud enough for at least the teacher to be able to hear me. And that was the first time I knew that music was my natural talent. I quickly progressed through the lessons, and my teacher could go as fast or as slow, depending on the pace that I set. Those were some wonderful years that I spent and both my talent and confidence grew, day after day.
I started singing more in public. The shy little girl in me took a back seat, as I started performing more for the audience. I would learn a new lesson, and walk back home with the new song running in my head. I was aware of the people around me staring and I cared less and less about what impression I was making on people walking in the street. To say those were the best times of my life would be an under statement.
But life took over and I ended up stopping my music lessons. I wasn’t aware of it then, but I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I have often wondered how my life could have been different if I had not quit my music lessons. I remember how sad my mom had been and I always wished I hadn’t let life disrupt the most beautiful moments of my life.
Every child has something that comes naturally to them. For some it may be music, while for others it may be art or they may be an excellent writer. While academics play a very important role in their lives, as parents we also need to find out every single talent that comes naturally to our child.
Identifying the hidden talent
The most obvious talents such as writing, drawing or playing a musical instrument are easy to accept. But talents don’t always come in a very specific pattern. Take the example of a child who has been termed as the class clown.
On the outside, it may seem as if he is wasting away his life just by being silly. But on deeper examination, a parent may find that the child has a natural ability to make others laugh. This child could grow up to be a stand up comedian. As parents, we need to learn to keep an open mind about our child’s abilities.
Nurturing our child’s talents
We are already doing the best that we can to raise our child to be a well rounded individuals. Once the child’s natural abilities have been identified, it is up to the parents to provide the child with opportunities in the form of formal lessons.
This usually involves juggling schedules and dropping and picking them up from different activities. And if there is more than one child in the house, schedules can get very tricky. But the most important thing that a parent needs to remember is giving the child adequate time and energy to practice his/her skill.
Letting the child lead
The biggest mistake that a parent can make is dominating the child’s passion. Children have their own way of following their heart. We often think that just because we are older, we are more knowledgeable.
In the process, we often hinder the child’s natural abilities to make a decision. While it is good to keep reminding children to practice their skill, it works even better when the children are themselves motivated to work on their skill. The parent’s role is to gently shift the responsibilities on their child’s shoulder, constantly reminding them that they are way more capable than they think.
When interests change.
Not every child finds and sticks to one passion. Just like grown ups have changing interests, children are allowed to change their minds too. There are some kids who like to try everything before they pick one ability that they would like to develop. We may be raising a Jack-of-all-trades, and that may not be the end of the world.
As I grew older, I moved on to so many different interests and passions. I found that I had a natural ability to express my emotions in words. I also learnt that I could convert my love for books into another hobby of writing book reviews. Music is still a big part of my life. Both my children have musical abilities.
My older daughter is experimenting with musical instruments such as guitar and actively participates in her school chorus. My son, on the other hand, loves Carnatic music just as much as I did as a child. And as I attempt to guide and supervise their natural talents, I find myself continuing to develop my own talents and passions.
I have come to accept that learning is a life-long process and it doesn’t have to stop at any particular age.
Find more tips on raising kids who accept themselves and grow with a confident mindset to achieve long term success in life.