In this post, I will share how we have determined what the passions are of each child.
With Lillie it was easy. She spent every spare moment creating. She was even happy to do so alone. This was the girl who hated our quiet times each day growing up because she had to be alone for an hour and she didn’t like being alone.
Now it is a different story. She will disappear for hours at a time and emerge looking ever so pleased with herself, holding her latest creation. She is unstoppable! Every part of the creative process excites her, from the birth of an idea, to the planning, buying resources and the actual making.
It imbibes every single cell of her body, mind and spirit. I always know when Lillie is going through a creative dry period because she becomes listless and agitated. Not being able to create affects her deeply.
When we go on holiday she takes more craft and jewellery making supplies than clothes. She figures she can survive without clothes but to go without being able to create is untenable to her.
With Thomas it was different. He always knew he enjoyed science and so we encouraged him in that. As a child he was phenomenally imaginative creating the most convoluted imaginary play and building all the necessary props from seemingly nothing. I always thought he would be an inventor of some sort, as his ability to think out of the box as a youngster astounded me time and time again. As he has grown older, however, he became much more box orientated, hence his love of science. He knew what was what with science and in the ever changing world of teenagedom it gave him a sense of peace and order.
A year or so ago, he picked up the guitar, never having shown any interest in music prior to this, and began to teach himself how to play. He was a natural. Since then he has built himself a bass guitar and taught himself to play that as well. And when a man from church offered him his 12 string guitar, well he very nearly collapsed with excitement. He now plays in the youth worship band.
Over the past few years he has also been on the tech team at church, learning first alongside the adults in the main service and then alongside his peers in the youth service. He is currently training up someone else.
He is passionate about his music and has been thinking about a career in the production side of things, combining both his love of music and his love of technology. It may very well suit him down to the ground. I could not have foreseen this, and I do wonder if he had not had as much freedom and time to explore his interests would he have even discovered it?
Charlotte, again, has been different.
Oh, we always knew she was an effortlessly good writer, but it has only been recently that I have seen how every single path she has taken leads back to her writing in some way, shape or form. She writes to express every inch of herself. When she is happy, she writes. When she is sad, she writes. When she is depressed, she writes. When she feels high as a kite, she writes. Furiously, like someone possessed by some stronger force than she.
For years Charlotte has kept journals, pages and pages of work detailing all her confusions with life. Writing is the way she makes sense of the world around her. And it is a beautiful thing to read.
Charlotte also loves music, but it does not consume her the way writing does, and indeed reading. She often stays up waaaaay past her bed time to finish (or start) some must read book. We probably shouldn’t have put two floor to ceiling bookcases in the upstairs loo. Charlotte seems to get lost in ‘other worlds’ each time she uses it…..never to be seen again. When she does finally re-enter the real world it is obvious to those who use it afterwards just what she has been doing, with whatever books she was perusing carelessly tossed on the shelf for easy access during her next visit.
I shall never forget the time I went looking for her and found her on the floor of the bathroom, feet up on the wall, furiously reading a book as if her life depended on it. “Just one page more, perleese Mummy?”
For me, so far, seeing the passions of my older three has been simple because, much like their mother, they are of the obsessive disposition. Creating, music and writing….three very different passions which I look forward to encouraging and nurturing.
And then there is my younger two. I am always on the look out for their ‘bent’, that natural interest which guides their free time. A8 LOVES science.
Behind in almost all the basic skills such as writing and spelling, she excels in both maths and science, understanding everything as if she has been pre-programmed to.
She is particularly interested in nature, as can be seen by the number of times we tell her to please hurry up whilst out on a nature walk. She could literally spend the day discovering new natural treasures, and still never get bored. And this from a girl who can not keep her attention for longer than 5 seconds on anything remotely traditionally educational (getting her to write a sentence takes FOREVER).
I don’t know how long this passion will last. She is fully young. But I shall be encouraging it for as long as she wishes me to.
B, at five, is only really coming into her own this year. Already I can see a creator in her.
She could hold a pen way before she held a spoon, scribbling for hours at a time. She is also my only perfectionist, desperate to always have everything (with regards to her art) as perfect as she deems possible.
She is my first child who cares what she wears each day. From a very young age she would carefully pick her clothes, making sure the top went with the bottom.
I suspect she might very well do something in fashion, either in the design or production; a place where both her skills for art, her eye for fashion and her perfectionist nature will be useful. Who knows? Not me. But I shall continue to work alongside her building the fire of her passions.
Recently, I reflected how deeply blessed I am to spend all day with my children. It makes noticing and nurturing their passions that much easier. And, y’know what? It is such a privilege and so exciting to be even a small part of developing these incredible people, for whom following their passion will be as natural as breathing; for whom life holds none of the usual societal boundaries or limitations. Life will be one big adventure, and I get to be carried along on the wave of each child’s journey into adulthood. There is no where I would rather be 🙂