Passion is not something that can be forced onto someone. It isn’t something that can be flicked on with a switch or something that anyone can be told to develop. Passion is difficult to find.
But when your kid does find it, some awesome things happen. They can focus more. They get a new sense of purpose. They see things in a different light. They welcome new challenges.
Unfortunately, passion isn’t taught or encouraged by a lot of our society. In fact, 40% of high school students have completely lost their interest in learning or growing, key parts of finding your passion.
Helping a kid find their passion is one of my favourite parts about being a life coach. It’s not easy—and normally takes weeks of work to find—but it is incredibly rewarding for myself, the child and the whole family.
If you want to encourage your child to find their passion, here are five ways to get them started on that journey.
1. Create a space exclusively for creativity.
Creativity is the most important ingredient for passion. Kids need to be able to harness their creativity to find what they are passionate about and explore that passion as much as possible.
One of the best ways to encourage creative thinking is to create a space that is just for your child’s creativity. This doesn’t have to be a whole room. It could be the corner of a room or even a box where they keep their toys or tools that stimulate their creativity.
Whatever it is, it’s important that your child feels like they have control over that space and that it’s used for them to pursue their passions. By giving them this space, you are giving them one of the tools they need to find their passion.
2. Encourage self-discovery
Your child finding their passion is a journey. It’s one you can help with, but it’s also one that requires a lot of self-discovery.
You can’t tell your kid what their passion is. They won’t be told by a teacher, a coach or a celebrity. They have to figure it out for themselves. And that might be the hardest part of helping your child.
There are some things that you can keep in mind to help out, though. First of all, don’t try to force things on them. Just because you liked something when you were younger or one of their siblings excels in a subject or sport doesn’t mean that your child will enjoy the same thing. Allow them the freedom to figure out their own interests.
At the same time make sure to give them the autonomy they need to cultivate their interests. This means keeping your hands off their work and not micromanaging what they are doing. Allow them to make mistakes and pursue any developing passions they might have.
3. Engage in open communication
While your child’s passion is the product of self-discovery, communicating with your kid will help them develop and strengthen that passion. This includes engaging in conversations where they tell you about their passion, but there are other forms of communication as well.
While speaking with them, try to pair their interests with causes that they can get behind. If they are passionate about wildlife, introduce them to environmentalism. If they are passionate about soccer, introduce them to a sports organization. When their passion is coupled with an organization or cause, it makes their interest more tangible.
If you can, introduce them to experts or professionals in the field. Having a role model or just someone to talk to about their interests that can give them insight or advice about what they are passionate about.
4. Give them the tools they need
The tools that your child will need to pursue their passion will differ depending on their interests, but helping them get those tools will go a long way. If they are interested in drawing, get them some art supplies. If they show an interest in building or architecture, give them some Lego.
Other things that stimulate their imagination or spark an interest are great tools to give your kids, no matter what their age. These could be objects or events, including books, educational YouTube channels, going on family adventures and being social.
Try out different outings or tools that your child can use to improve skills that will assist their passion.
5. Support them
Above all else, the most important thing you can do is support your child. Be there when they need help, but only guide them. Don’t tell them the “right” answer, but encourage them to look at situations from different viewpoints.
Get the whole family involved, too. Even though finding your passion is a journey of self-discovery, getting the family to show their support and be encouraging is a great way to keep your child’s spirits up.
Finally, get your own creativity going and pursue your own passions. You can’t really understand how to help with your child’s passions if you don’t understand your own. So do yourself and your child a favour and get passionate.
When you help your kid find their passion, it makes it easier for them to find joy in everything else they do, to try new things and to excel in other aspects of their life. Helping them find their passion isn’t easy, but it’s the best thing you can do for your child.