Joyful, happy, confident kids – Ask any parents what their goal for their child is and you will hear this.
But how do we help children find joy and fulfillment in their lives that last them forever?
They do have to grow up and make a place for themselves in this highly competitive world. We often focus so much on what they need to succeed that we forget about what they need to be happy.
We separate living from what we do for a living.
But here is a mantra that experts have mouthed over decades. Find something that you love to do, and you’ll never need to work another day. With a little modification that actually works!
So how do you spot and nurture talent and nourish joyfulness?
Embrace and accept your child
Each child is different. They grow at a different pace. They like and love different things. They have personalities of their own.
Some bloom in the limelight and can perform nursery rhymes at the drop of a hat to an attentive audience, while others wilt under public glare and find it hard to get a word out. It does not make one smarter than the other.
Accept your child for who they are in totality. Let them discover themselves.
Observe what they do
We all unwittingly gravitate to what we like.
Do you prefer to read romances? Do you love watching thrillers? Is spicy food your favorite? Does a green garden make you happy?
Just like what makes you happy, kids too will gravitate to what interests them.
Does your child like to read or does the great outdoors beckon them? Is playing with cars fun or are crayons preferred companions?
Of course, children will explore all activities as they have not yet discovered themselves fully and they may come back to one after a while only to go away for a bit.
Let them take time.
Give them space
Art might interest a child, but they have more to discover before they start learning about it formally. Too much too soon can take away the joy from that activity. Let them have the space to learn about what brings them joy.
Keep expectations in check
We want all our children to be child prodigies who can master everything immediately.
Talent and joy apart, it takes years to become proficient at something and achieve mastery at it.
Even the best musicians have to grow and go through ups and downs before they master it. Cricketers may have the talent, but it takes years of work to hone it.
Let them do the scout work
Saina Nehwal plays badminton with an unparalleled passion, but there are hours of tough work that enables her to play that way.
Empowerment comes through sacrifice. A talent for writing does not guarantee best sellers from day one. J.K. Rowling had to scout several publishers for her Harry Potter books before she became a best-selling author. So let your children know that tough work is part of the joyful growth.
Encourage them to be the best they can be.
They will encounter failures, but if you can help them to view those as just stepping stones to success, so they know what not to do next and to avoid failure.
The mind is a powerful tool in finding joy. Train them to see how joy follows hard work.
Push vs. Hold back
This is one of the most challenging tricks to master. Even the most talented child needs pushing once in a way. It is important not to push them so hard that they burn out and find no joy in something they previously enjoyed.
Every child is different. So it will depend on the child. Knowing your child and observing them will be the best way to gauge this.
Finally, remember that if you give them space to be who they are and discover what they want, they will have the confidence to do so. They might stumble, but knowing that you are supportive will help them get it right and lead happy, fulfilled lives as they grow up.
Today, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do to make a living. Let your child discover who they are and what interests them; what they find joy in.
Society’s definition of success may not define them, but they will find joy in what they do every day. They will enjoy doing what they do all their lives.
It starts young. Watch them and help them discover that joy!