Stifling the Talents of Children “For Their Own Good”
Talents are those intellectual abilities or skills that lead us to develop an activity with great skill. When we say that someone has talent, what we mean is that he is very good at what he does and, besides that, he is passionate about it and capable of putting his whole being into it. Stifling the talents of children is one of the worst things we can do.
When we are children, adults can quickly see what our most natural and inborn talents are. There are some children who don’t stop drawing, others run and jump, others are crazy about observing insects …
The problem comes when these abilities of ours are not encouraged because they do not “contribute” anything, either to the world or to ourselves. Or so we are told.
When we are little we believe everything that our surroundings transmit to us. At that innocent age, we have little capacity to decide what we want or don’t want to do with our lives and in the end, many fall into the trap of cultural and social imposition, and we lose ourselves in the process.
School, in our experience, is part of a system designed with a specific agenda, and common to all children. While we are there, we are submitted to tests that evaluate our ability to perform in a subject that may not interest us in the least. A philosophy, which, besides being a bit unfair, specializes in stifling talents.
When a child is good at something that society views as being of little use, such as music or painting, he is seldom encouraged nor helped to improve.
On the contrary, it is in the things that do not interest him and the things he isn’t good at where we give them support teachers or private classes. Is this not totally absurd?
“It’s for your good…”
We cannot deny that both parents and educators want the best for their children and it is clear they have good intentions. The fear that your child might not develop a promising future or become a “worthwhile person” is sometimes so great that what we do is discourage the child and take him on a professional path that, far from making him happy, he is likely to end up loathing.
As adults, many of us really don’t know what we like and what we don’t. We are on autopilot: school, college, university … And then what? When we enter the world of work, we realize that it is not really our thing. We realise we have trained in something that we are not especially good at, or that we simply do not like.
We are supposedly where we are “for our own good,” but what happens to our dreams, do we abandon them for a fixed salary?
If we are lucky enough to realize all this relatively soon, then perhaps when we are adults we can remedy it and begin to develop those talents that were imprisoned in our soul, but which are desperate to be released.
Many people expect that when they retire they’ll be able to do just whatever they want to, just as they did when they were children : enjoying nature, doing crafts, learning music etc. It is a real pity that one can not enjoy doing these things, for the fear of not being able to live a “dignified life” as that little voice used to tell us in our subconscious.
Cultivate our children’s talents and, if possible, our own too
The best gift that as parents we can give our children is to value their talents in a genuine and sincere way. Every person is born with a gift and that is where we as parents must support our little ones. Stop being angry because your son is a whirlwind and doesn’t stop jumping and running everywhere! Maybe it’s time to sign him up for some sport where you can develop those abilities.
When a child notices that their parents are encouraging their abilities, their self-esteem rises dramatically. Children are always looking for the approval of their parents and need to be sure that what they like doing is to their parents’ approval.
Feeling valuable and seeing that what comes from within them is applauded, generates in the child a sense of self-realization that helps them not to be carried away by “what they should be doing as adults”
We don’t want children to stop studying and learning other things that can be valuable in their lives, as all learning, if well taught, always has some benefit. But we must know how to appreciate and value their acumen and abilities in a special way and urge them to improve on them, challenge themselves, better themselves and … who knows?… try and make a living from it.
On the other hand, if you are reading this article and have realised it is talking about you, perhaps it is also time to release your talents again. Forget about what others will say, because no doubt someone will tell you: “That’s no use!”, “There’s no future in that!”, “How can you earn a living with that!” etc …
Don’t worry, whoever perseveres succeeds. When we are persistent with whatever brings us excitement, there will come a time when we achieve our dreams or, at the very least, we’ll get close.
The problem is that we are not used to being governed by our self-indulgence and we surrender too soon, almost always letting ourselves be influenced by our surroundings. There is still time to develop your talent and show the world everything you have inside you, and everything you are ready to give others.