How can your middle schooler develop a deep passion?

27 DEC 2021

I am positive there is one of these kids in your son’s or daughter’s class: the child who has a deep interest in an activity to the point where they live and breathe it outside of school. Whether it is pursuing a sport such as gymnastics or taking part in debate competitions on the weekend, that deep passion is what drives this individual to succeed. How can this be cultivated in your own child? After all. I am sure you would like to see them do something more than binge-watch Netflix or scroll on their phones. But how do you go about it? 

First, I urge you to consider what your child already enjoys doing and start to bridge from there. If, for example, your son or daughter exhibits an interest in studying animals during their biology unit, perhaps you could plan a family outing to the zoo and see if the organization has any educational volunteering opportunities. Even seemingly mundane activities, such as enjoying eating or enjoying playing board games, can be turned into hobbies. If a child enjoys cuisine from a particular country, perhaps a good starting point is to learn how to cook one of these dishes, or to do research on that particular country’s cultural traditions. If your child enjoys playing board games, perhaps taking part in a gaming club, learning strategy-based games such as chess and joining tournaments, or switching to the digital sphere and learning how to code a game could all be options. Take an idea, and put it into action! 

Another way to develop a deep passion is to encourage your student to try new things with other people and in new places. If your child has a friend who is into soccer, have your son join him in soccer practice one day and see if it sticks! This could even be done within the family. If you need to take a trip to the hardware store, take some time to explore the tools and discuss their purposes and what you can do with them. When you get home, challenge your child to find information on YouTube about DIY projects people do at home with such tools. There might be something your son or daughter saw that causes a spark! Do not be afraid to rekindle old interests as well. If you are visiting an art museum on a rainy day with your pre-teen daughter and there is an advert for art classes and you fondly remember her finger-painting adventures as a toddler, ask if she would like to try the class – either by herself or as an activity you do together. 

Also, make sure to talk to your child if there is something they have always wanted to do, but never tried (or even failed at before and then gave up!) and see how they can be put on that path in a realistic way. Sometimes the answer is obvious but children, especially at this age, are afraid to bring it up again due to past failures or a mishandled situation. Be a positive influence on your child and explain to them that they do not have to be perfect in their hobbies, or even competitive. There are many other benefits such as having friends with common interests, a healthy stress management outlet, or simply enjoying it! Years ago, I recall being heartbroken after an ankle injury stopped me from competing in the hurdles at my country’s national championships in track and field; my parents reminded me that the benefits of having a healthy stress outlet, keeping my body in good shape, and having teammates I could hang out with far outweighed any medal or record that I may have had my sights set on for that particular summer. Had this conversation not happened, there is a chance I may have given up on track and field but here I am, still eager to run around in circles (well, a 400m oval!) in my spare time. The way you approach your child’s hobbies could make or break whether they can evolve into a deep passion, so above all else, be loving and supportive, but in a realistic manner. 

Crimson Rise students are familiar with the process of exploring hobbies, and later building them up as extracurriculars. They are encouraged to reflect upon what interests them, made aware of the benefits of having hobbies, as well as given guidance on how a deep passion could transition into a potential career. We had a student, Kyra, who was an avid doodler when she first joined Crimson. After sessions with her strategist, Kyra combined her love of drawing with her love of animals as she also had pet rats. Kyra began to draw comics about her pet rats and this evolved into her wanting to explore the realms of creativity and designs in new ways. She eventually got permission from her mom to redecorate her room, which became an overnight sensation on TikTok when she posted the before and after. Seeing others support Kyra putting her deep passion for creativity into action, Kyra began using apps for design and started to consider it as a potential career, leading her to explore universities in the USA that would be able to help nurture her newfound dream of becoming a designer. If your child is enrolled at Crimson, please talk to them about their sessions and see how you can support their ideas so they too can evolve! 

Overall, developing a deep passion takes time and not everything your child tries may be their thing. But, as Michael Jordan of basketball fame once said, “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and as such, I urge you to be open-minded and try new things without expecting them to necessarily succeed. It truly is a game of trial and error, but after some time, your child will be able to find some hobbies and hopefully their favorite one will turn into a deep passion. 

Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger, 

Gala

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