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Discover your child’s passion

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Discover your child’s passion

You have likely heard people described as being “in their element,” but what does that mean? In his recent book, The Element: How finding your passion changes everything, Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D., describes the element as, “The point at which natural talent meets personal passion.” He goes on to say that when people are in their element, “They are doing the thing they love, and in doing it they feel like their most authentic selves.” Although focusing mainly on adults, his ideas can give us (parents and educators) some further insight into how best to help our kids achieve to their potential in school.

Aptitude and Passion
Two of the features of people in their element are the presence of aptitude (“I get it”) and passion (“I love it”). While many times they may have a natural talent for something, aptitude can also be developed through practice and study. So let me ask, what are your children’s strengths and passions? Are there some that fit into both categories? How could you help them to discover and develop them?

Attitude and Opportunities
Children who have discovered their strengths and passions usually have generally more positive attitudes towards life. You can also often use your knowledge and skills in other areas to help you better understand or problem-solve in weaker areas. School is no different. If you would like to help foster perseverance, self-belief, optimism, and ambition in your children, help them to identify and leverage their strengths in tougher subject areas. Sharing these strengths with teachers can also help them to do the same, on your children’s behalf.

Potential roadblocks for kids can include: difficulty finding other people who share their passion; peer pressure to conform and not to do something their friends find un-cool; the lack of a mentor; general lack of awareness of their strengths. Again, many of these are easily overcome. Identify which may be potential barriers for your children and then explore steps to remove or reduce them.

If they are lucky, your children may find they are already in their element while at school. However, even if their talents and passions lie outside of the regular school day, discovering and developing them will often give them the strength and sense of self-belief to persevere in the more difficult aspects of their schooling or life.