Children are balls of energy running rampant in life, only to be contained by a parental figure. Most things excite them and each experience they encounter shapes them into the people they will become. As adults, we guide children by helping them find what they’re good at. We have to help children find their spark.
It’s easy for some kids to find their spark because it fits in with societal pressures. Some people are naturally talented at sports, so that’s their spark. Parents accept it and help them get better by signing them up for tee-ball and sending them to camps. Other kids are artists by nature. Their parents buy them paint kits and let them at it.
Think of how you became good at something in your life. Who was the one who cheered you on when you weren’t sure about it? For me, my spark has always been my love for learning. I’m a nerd and I always have been. My high school teachers are the ones who found that spark and encouraged me to use it. Before then, I played the airhead cheerleader often and felt safe from ridicule. When I realized my love for English, my teachers eased it out of me. My teachers in high school pushed me on my papers and encouraged me to read books other than required reading. They gave me volunteer opportunities to help other students. Without them, I wouldn’t have learned that I yearned for more educational opportunities. It’s a weird spark, but sparks can be anything!
Children are malleable. Sure they’re unpredictable and will sometimes do whatever the heck they want even when you say no, but mostly, they want to feel accepted. They want to make sure what they do is OK with you and with society. What happens if it’s not, though?
Take a boy who loves fashion. He loves makeup too. He’s always trying on his mom’s clothes and lipstick. He sketches out the prettiest dresses that he imagines models wearing on the runway. His parents can accept it or they can reject it. If they reject it, then this boy will understand that what he loves in life is not acceptable for the society he lives in. Should his parents accept his love for fashion and makeup, then he can shine? He can do as he wants and feel at ease. He won’t feel as though he’s doing something wrong -- which he isn’t.
Helping a child find their spark is more important than you think. Sparks will tell a child what is acceptable in society and what is not. Their spark doesn’t have to be your spark or what you think is a good spark. I mean, Troy Bolton’s spark was singing and his dad eventually accepted it. Keep in mind that happiness is the key to life. It is what we all aim for. If we tell a child what they love is not acceptable, then they might not find happiness. Embrace a child’s uniqueness. Embrace whatever they are good at doing. Embrace what they are happy doing, even if they are not very good at it. A child can shine if you show them their spark.