How to cultivate hobbies into lifelong passions
It is very common to see in children a knack for picking up hobbies- one minute they’re drawing and sketching, the next they want to try roller-skating. As parents, it is important to differentiate between hobbies and passions and know which one to cultivate in your child
So how do you know your child is enjoying an activity so much it becomes a passion for them?
- They will display a keen interest in it since their childhood, though they might not be always aware that is what they are doing. For example- many children try to break new toys and cars when given to them, but only a few of them try to put the pieces back together, just to see where everything fit. If your child has been doing like this for a long time, it showcases his curiosity about creating things from scratch.
- They will like to do things that are very closely related to their passion. For example, most writers say that their love for writing grew from reading books. Although this depends on person to person, if your child is an avid reader, you could give him/her a pen and ask them to try and write something. However imaginary or fantastical their piece turns out to be the first time, if they like it, they will keep at it, which brings me to my next point.
- When kids really like to do something, they keep at it for years. There have been very few people who say that they were voracious readers while children and now dislike reading books. So if you see your child pursuing a hobby for many years, chances are it is one of his/her passions.
Now that you can assess when to understand that your child may have a passion instead of a hobby, here is how you can cultivate it-
1. Know your child’s passion:
It may be something vague, like playing football/soccer or reading or dancing, or it may be something specific, like playing as a striker or reading horror stories or dancing ballet. If you do not come to know what your child is passionate about you cannot help nurture him/her in it. Take the time to know and understand your child’s interests. So the next time you attend your child’s recital or game, ask them open-ended questions about their experience and listen when they share.
2. Think outside the box:
Most parents cultivate hobbies into their young ones based on what are the most ‘useful’ skills to have on a resume. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Your child’s passions are his/her own, something they connect to and find peace in doing. Imposing that with the pressure of conforming to certain ‘acceptable’ or ‘safe’ choices in interests is never going to help your child. Instead, give him/her enough exposure to everything and let them decide for themselves and thrive.
3. Nurture optimism and avoid judgment:
We already live in a competitive world where kids face a significant amount of pressure to perform. When they fall short of expectations, they feel disheartened. At such moments the onus is on parents to help their children cultivate the ‘can-do’ attitude by explaining that we all fail at times and that is a part and parcel of life, and what matters more is to work through failure and come out stronger as a person. When children are confident in their abilities, they find their passions.
A child’s journey to finding his passion is enriching and helps him in making decisions for himself. As parents, we can help them cultivate their passions from an early age. Aiding them and setting them on their desired path will turn out to be just as enriching for parents!