In my book, You’re One in Six Billion: A Confidence Building Guide for Teens (scheduled to be released Fall, 2011), I teach children that there is only one of them out of approximately six billion people in the world. If you take some time to reflect on that, it’s pretty mind blowing to know that there is no one else in this world like you. I use this message to teach children that each one of them has something special and unique to offer the world.
The special something that your child has to offer the world, is his or her passion. I believe your passion is your “calling” or your “purpose” in life. Your passion is something that you can do almost effortlessly. That doesn’t mean hard work & dedication are not required to cultivate your passion, but the hard work feels effortless at times, because you receive so much joy and fulfillment from doing it. Every child possesses something that they’re really good at. In some children their interests are blatantly obvious, and for some children it requires observation and communication with the child to identify what brings joy into their life.
For example, there was a 5th grade student that I used to meet with for counseling. This student had behavioral challenges in school and also had a learning disability. His behavioral challenges and lack of focus in school shadowed his many positive attributes, so it took some time for me to identify his gifts. During a counseling session, I asked him “So what are some positive things that you can offer to your community?” This sparked a discussion that led him to share his desire for helping the homeless. He spoke about the homeless people that he saw around the city he lived in and he wanted to do something to help them. I saw the light in his eyes and the glow that people often have when they begin speaking about something they’re passionate about. I spoke to him about some ways that he can help out, such as speaking to his teachers about having a canned food drive at the school to donate to a homeless shelter, or a toiletry drive to donate necessities such as toothpaste, soap, etc.. to the homeless (people often don’t realize that the basic necessities we take for granted aren’t easily accessible to the homeless). The student became really excited about discussing ways that he can help the homeless.
If I were his parent, I would take this and run with it. I would do it without being too overbearing or pushy. The stage mom mentality is not very effective, so it’s important to maintain the fun and enjoyment. I would sign up for family volunteer activities that he could be involved with such as volunteering at a food pantry or soup kitchen. I would also help him organize a canned food, clothing, or toiletry drive at his school, church or community. This would be an ideal way of tapping into his passion to place him in a leadership role, and keep him involved with activities that will instill pride and confidence in him. I would also use his passion to link the connection of doing well in school to his future. Through his passion I would fill his mind with all of the wonderful things he can accomplish such as becoming an executive director for a non-profit organization that helps the homeless, or even start his own non-profit organization. I would outline what is required to make those accomplishments and possibly even make arrangements for him to meet directors of non-profit organizations, so that they can speak to him about what it took for them to get where they are.
This is also the concept used for the Born For Greatness Youth Writers Class. I take students who have a passion for writing and use their gift to pave a path of success for them. Through the Born For Greatness Youth Writers Class I help students strengthen their writing skills and assist them with getting their writing published in magazines. I am also planning to publish a book with a collection of writing from the students enrolled in the Born For Greatness Youth Writers Summer 2011 Class. Once the book is published I plan to organize a book signing, in which the students’ family members and people in their community can support them by purchasing the book and getting it autographed by the students. The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to a charity selected by the students. This is another example of how adults can build confidence in children, put them in leadership roles & set children on a path to success through the child’s passion.
It may take some time & effort to come up with creative ways to nurture your child’s passion, or even find out what their passion is in the first place. So once you identify it, take it and run with it!!!
Tamara Shirer has worked as a Child/Adolescent Social Worker & School Counselor for 11 years. She is now the founder and CEO of Born For Greatness Youth Empowerment Resources. The Born For Greatness company provides parents & educators with solutions that build confidence in their children to succeed. Get your FREE audio on ‘The Top 5 Ways To Build Confidence In Your Child’ www.BFG-youth.com