Encouraging natural passions in kids

As a parent, I watched eagerly from the start of my two children’s lives, to see what it is my kids would be passionate about. Would I have skateboarders on my hands? Future thespians? Maybe a lacrosse or baseball player? What about a budding artist or writer?

cute purple scarf

With both children I came out swinging: for my daughter I bought baby books, and started reading to hear the day the pregnancy test came back positive. I signed her up for toddler music classes, took her to museums, and flooded our cozy post-nap afternoons with craft time.

Nook color{reading on a sleeper train in Europe}

Today Precocious is a world class reader. She reads a book a day and has a literacy level well past high school.

Reading is her LIFE.

Sure, I encourage her to try new things, but I want her to know how much I support her natural passion for literature.  So we check out book lists, surf Amazon for recommendations, swap books with each other, browse book stores, and stop by the library 2-3 times a week.

Precocious knows I will scour the ends of the earth to find something great for her to read, and I think it makes a difference to her, knowing she has my full support in doing the thing she loves most.

Charming couldn’t be more different if he tried. 

zipline

He’s the quintessential little boy.  He started riding a bike without training wheels before he was out of diapers, hurtling down a neighbor’s slanted driveway at the speed of light.  And well before that, he was jumping from the changing table into his crib, {three feet away, mind you} and back again just for the fun of it.

Charming must be moving at all times in order to be happy.  He adores jumping, bike riding, shoveling dirt, swinging, riding a scooter, running, tumbling, playing soccer, playing baseball, hitting things, and rolling around in the mud.

chasing

If I were to try and sit him down for a cozy little reading day, he’d pull his hair out and scream.  Crafts make him mental.  Music classes tried to tame him, and everyone lost.

So in order for me to encourage his natural passions, I really have to roll with it.  We live in a safe enough neighborhood {thank the heavens above} or we’d have a problem on our hands.  Charming has a light leash; from the moment he wakes up at 6:00 A.M. until he heads to bed at night, Charming can be found outside.  Running at full speed.

It doesn’t really matter what I want Charming to do, it matters what he’s passionate about.  What makes him tick, so to speak.

So Charming has every manner of outdoor activity set up for him: bikes, scooters, a tree house, a sandbox, trampoline, his own set of gardening tools, and every available ball, bat, mitt, or random sporting equipment I can get my hands on.

If he wants to move, I’m going to let him move.  And if Precocious wants to read, I’m going to find her an endless supply of books.  Because I want nothing more for my children, than to follow their natural passions and abilities.  I want to support them at every turn, and I want them to know how much I’m cheering for their success.

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Allison

Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

14 Comments

  1. Natalie Wright :

    Book Recommendations for Precocious:
    -The Ranger’s Apprentice series by Flanagan
    -“Peter and The Starcatchers” and series by Ripley and Pearson
    -Children of the Lamp (series) by Kerr
    -“The Alchemist” by Scott
    -The Redwall series by Jacques
    -Artemis Fowl series by Colfer
    -H.I.V.E. series by Walden
    -“Dragon Slippers” or anything else by Jessica Day George
    -“The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi
    -“A long way from Chicago” or anything else by Richard Peck

    Let me know if you need more!

    • Allison :

      You’re the best! This should at least get us into the school year, I hope! I’ll have P email you and we can get some more as we head into the fall.

      THANK YOU!

      xoxo

  2. dgm :

    This is also my approach to parenting, not only because I think it makes for happier kids who will more likely succeed in life, but also because I love seeing people do what they are best at. I see so many parents attempt to push and wrangle their kids into things the kid obviously lacks passion for, or isn’t very good at, and it makes me sad for the kid.

    • Allison :

      I agree. Obviously. But I think it makes everyone happy, all the way around. If I’m forcing my kids to do something they hate, we’ll all be miserable.

  3. Sarah :

    i love this. i have always tried to do this and sometimes i need reminding, it is easier when my kids are interested in the things that i love, but i am discovering that they are able to help me discover things i might never have tried.

    • Allison :

      It’s so interesting to watch these kiddos grow up because I naturally expect them to love everything I do. It’s a really good lesson for me to sit back and say, okay you tell ME what it is you love, and I’m the student for a bit.

  4. Erin O. :

    I had to learn this lesson last summer when my girl was 2. I signed her up for kiddie gymnastics…you know, the low-key stuff where you sing a song, follow an obstacle course, and play on trampolines. Every other child was happy to follow right along with the class. My girl was the one that was running around like a lunatic and hanging from the uneven bars. I finally asked myself, “why am I putting us both through this?” and bailed on the class. My girl was much happier to spend her time at the park running like a crazy woman. Sounds like she and Charming should hang out.

    • Allison :

      They would be fast friends, I can practically guarantee it. We did tumbling, which worked okay and I might need to try again. But man, it just isn’t worth it if I’m pushing them for my own reasons, ie: future college scholarships, instead of: fun kid play.

  5. Anne :

    What a fun thing to think about. My kids are still younger (5 and 2), but I already see glimpses of future passions. For example, my 2yo son “reads” himself to sleep every night. He grabs a book and turns the pages and looks at the pictures. In the mornings, he gets up and “reads” some more. I’m glad we have a nice library nearby!!

    • Allison :

      I love that he’s already so into books! My oldest did that as a baby too, it’s adorable.

    • Allison :

      Aww, thanks Steph. It’s easy to tell how much I adore those little kiddos, huh?

  6. Pennie :

    She sounds a lot like me :) I used to get into trouble for reading at meals or in the bathtub. When my mother wanted to punish me she would hide my new books from the book fair. The librarian from my school that I went to from pre-k through 8th? Still keep in touch. Known me for twenty some odd years.

    My daughter is only one but she sounds like Charming :) Her pictures are usually blurry.

    • Allison :

      Pennie, she doesn’t sit down EVER, anywhere without a book. She takes one everywhere she goes! I love it though, and I love that you kept in touch with the school librarian! She knows the names and interests of all the librarians that work at our local library! So fun.