Being a single father, I frequently find myself wearing multiple hats. While juggling my many responsibilities, I have found it easy to get so busy. So busy that many times I’ve overlooked the things that, while seemingly small, deserve my constant attention as they could have a big impact. One example is the need to help my children develop their talents.
Some may think that this a subject to tackle later as a child heads towards adulthood. However, as our children grow up, it is important that we carve out the time now that will allow us to get to know their interests and goals. This, when cultivated, can lead to truly successful and fulfilling careers.
This article highlights three ways fathers can help their child(ren) discover and embrace their talents and passions. Ultimately to set them on a path for success in selecting their future career goals.
1. Be Attentive To What Your Children Are Drawn To
While watching my youngest daughter play and interact around our home, I noticed that she was drawn to working with her hands and doing things that stimulated a certain level of in-depth thinking.
More specifically, she was drawn to creating things. After paying closer attention, I realized that no matter what she asked for, everything that she requested allowed her to create something in some shape or form.
It was through observing those things, I began to understand what inspired and interested her.
Observing is the keyword here. A parent can never fully understand what makes their child(ren) tick without paying attention to their likes and dislikes, their excitements, and disappointments. It is important to take note of what they are fascinated with and allow them to explore these things. This will be key into helping them develop and hone their talents even at a young age.
Being attentive to your child makes them feel important and confident about themselves and their interests. It also allows you to gain insight on how to help them achieve their goals – no matter what stage they are in life.
2. Invest In What Excites Them
Once you have identified what interests your child(ren), the next and perhaps one of the most important steps is to invest in them and their hobbies or favorite pastimes.
According to “How to Identify and Develop Special Talents” by John F. Feldhusen, some of the most impactful ways to develop talents is tailoring activities, learning opportunities, and the gadgets they use to their specific interests. Be considerate when shopping for you child; placing more emphasis on the things that will help fuel and nurture them, which in turn can evolve into refined talents.
Over the last few years I have continued to invest in the items that my daughter consistently shows interest in.
I have watched her develop strong skills and abilities in both the arts and sciences, to the point of creating projects that often reflects a more mature and cultivated talent. She has taught herself to formulate her own products by mixing materials and conducting experiments.
Working as an analytical chemist for several years I understand that this is no simple task. I watch astounded as she conducts a very thorough search on the subject matter, gaining valuable knowledge on various processes and raw materials.
What makes this even more interesting is the level of research that she does. Being a severe asthmatic and having a highly reactive immune system, she also learns what products are more likely to be allergens and induce asthma attacks or skin irritations.
In many situations kids intuitively are preparing themselves for the field of study or career of choice. Parents are to support and guide them along that path.
In fact, without my influence or encouragement she has already declared that she wants to work in the biological / chemical arena.
3. Share In Their Interests To Discover Hidden Talents
At first view, if a child tells their parent that they would like to pursue an interest in lets say cosmetology, it may be easy to think that you should redirect your child into a more lucrative, prestigious, or prominent industries.
But before making stereotypes or disregarding their aspirations, consider doing some research to learn more about what they are drawn to most. Remember to ask them questions about why they enjoy their specific hobby, goal, or potential career.
Just as my daughter expressed her interest in the biological and chemical arenas she also articulated her desire for cosmetology. Initially I questioned her interest but in fact, after looking back on things, I realized that I had purchased more Barbie and/or Bratz Styling Heads throughout the years than any other single item. But to her it wasn’t about the hair, it was more about her desire to create and cosmetology was another way for her to combine the arts and sciences.
So, once you’ve done your research, take what you’ve learned and share it with your child, creating opportunities that will allow you to grow together. As you grow and learn together you may discover that your child’s vision for their future or simply their ‘right now favorite pastime’ is one you can buy into too.
For instance, while exploring my child’s interests in cosmetology I found that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that this field will experience job growth that is “faster than the average for all occupations through 2024.” In addition, the income levels for cosmetology continue to rise due to a high demand in the beauty industry.
But only by exploring and sharing in a child’s interests and talents, would a parent know it is worth investing in with their child.
So remember dad: Watch, invest and share. Their talents are waiting to be discovered.