It's one of our responsibilities as parents to expose our children to the bounty that the world has to offer. Which means stretching to do things that are NOT just our own hobbies and favorite pastimes. There's nothing wrong with instilling a love of your hobbies in your kids. I love to read, try new foods, travel and garden. So I make sure my boys get a big dose of all my hobbies.
But I quickly found out with my son, Jake, that he has definite interests outside those. And the only way you might discover a talent or knack for something is to try a little bit of everything.
Author David Palmiter, Jr. says in his book WORKING PARENTS, THRIVING FAMILIES that it's easy to get in a rut. But if you do a few simple things, you can broaden your child's world dramatically.
And it helps build your child's self-confidence when they discover they are good at ice hockey, drawing, doing comedy, woodworking, or something totally off the beaten path of anyone else in your family. Frankly, it's how I found my career...by pursuing my love of writing and doing the "morning school announcements" at my middle school and high school. No one else in my family had ever tried the Yearbook staff, the newspaper staff or the announcing. So you never know…
Palmiter puts it simply this way: "What an adventure it can be to discover our child's competencies. Walk through a sporting-goods store and see what strikes her interest; go on the Internet and ask him what he's curious about; go to libraries, museums, parks and zoos; go to unusual events; break some molds."
Basically find out what causes time to stop for your child. What makes them say, "I can't believe an hour just went by." Of "is it really time to go?" That's the passion you're looking for!
And the bonus is that behavior issues or angry outbursts seem to melt away when they get to do something they dream of doing!
Here's a partial list of ideas to get you started. But as Palmiter points out, if you brainstorm for a few minutes you can come up with your own list.
As part of the discovery zone, try to learn something about the hobby by reading. Find articles on the web, books at the library, TV shows or movies, science fairs, spelling bees, math bowls, conventions to get more info…anything you can think of to expand your child's exposure to their newfound hobbies. Buy them new or used microscopes, calculators, cameras or other equipment to turn them into junior experts in the field. And certainly compliment their questions, curiosity and discoveries when they come running in the room to tell you what they found out!
Have fun exploring the world with your child. You just might find something new that you like too.