Ever feel like you’re missing out on providing an essential aid for your child? Watching all those incredibly talented little kids on YouTube and TV, does it makes you wonder why your child isn’t able to do that?
What could it be?
How we define ‘talent’
It’s how we define talent and expect every child (or adult) to fit into one of the categories we’ve set aside as talent.
Such a loose term isn’t it? A quick google search defines it as natural aptitude or skill.
However, candidly, don’t we all categorize talent into a few fields?
Those being musical, artistic, dancing, athletic, public speaking, writing and so forth.
Obviously these aren’t the only talents a person possesses and given that talent is based on the combination of natural ability to do a particular task such as finger co-ordination to play instruments and individual interest in the task of playing said instrument, talent could be anything anyone is great at.
No child is born talented enough to play the violin, it must be taught and encouraged and the interest the child feels towards the activity must never diminish.
Personally, my parents took a fairly common route and enrolled my siblings and I in keyboard classes. While one of my siblings took to it, the rest of us began to despise it. Lack of the natural ability to play the instrument in addition with absolutely no interest in learning to, made for pretty annoyed students.
I was eventually enrolled in guitar classes as I expressed interest to learn it, not that I ever got very good. But that’s another story.
There’s also the case of children that do possess talents that fit into a ‘talent category’, say singing. However, soon after the discovery of their talent, they’re compared to the very best in the field. This makes the child feel less talented than they are and might even make them stop practicing. Be wary of this, the comparison may be meant as a target for the child to reach but the child will not see it that way.
No comparison is the safer bet.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”
This picture depicts the talent comparison situation, while one fish swims by happily, the other compares itself to a monkey. Thereby trying to achieve something it never will, the ability to climb a tree.
Can you really define talent?
I believe parents must stop looking at talent from the perspective that their parents did, maybe you fit into a category that was labelled as talent (like one of those I mentioned above), but it doesn’t happen to everybody.
Wait for your child to express genuine interest in a field, whatever it may be, and provide guidance or expert tutoring, whatever you see fit. If your child also possesses the ‘natural ability’ to shine in that activity, then voila you have found one of their talents. If not, rinse and repeat with their next interest.
This method only works when talents are not limited to the categories we defined as we were growing up. For when a child expresses interest in rock climbing and their parent decides that couldn’t be a talent, the child is not provided any guidance and eventually their interest fades. Maybe your child could’ve been the next Alain Robert (the human spider). Doesn’t sound ideal, but it’s no reason to shrug it off.
I guess what I’m saying is, keep an open mind and treat any interest your child expresses with genuine consideration. This might get tiring given children especially younger ones tend to have a new interest almost every day but if you turn a blind eye to all their interests you might just miss the one that could give them the title of ‘most talented ________’ someday.
I don’t expect parents to seriously consider interests such as cookie eating ability or farting ability, both of which I truly hope are never considered talents in the future but consider the ones that may sound weird to you at first, but could possibly be a talent (in disguise?).
Oh, and if you or your kid have got a talent that doesn’t fit into those general talent categories, drop in a comment and let us know what it is. Maybe someday we’ll make a collection of talents, whatever they may be.