Friday, July 2, 2010

Supporting Our Children's Passions

I have made a commitment to supporting my children as they explore their interests and follow their passions. My children's passions at the very least become my interests as we learn together. I spend time researching to figure out my role as facilitator in relation to any particular passion. Many of the members of this family are still in the early stages of reconnecting with or discovering passions because we have only been focusing on our passions, instead of what outside influences said we should focus on, for about a year now.

In our family we accept that some passions come and go, while others remain for a lifetime. Each person is welcome to invest as much or as little of their time and energy into any particular passion or interest for as long or as short a time as they wish. There is no concern about wasting time with a non-permanent passion. We learn from each interest for as long as it lasts and are comfortable with the possibility that a particular interest may last for an hour or a week or for years. There is no guilt around leaving one interest for another. There are no lectures about finishing what you started or about being a quitter. There is no need to do something because we "should." Authentic engagement and intrinsic motivation determine how long each of us participates in any activity or follows a particular interest.

This commitment to supporting my children's passions involves a great deal of trust. Trust that they really know what is right for them and trust that I am capable when their passions push me out of my comfort zone. This week has had big moments of trust. One of our daughter's heard an ad on the radio about talent scouts who were coming to our area. We went on-line and checked it out as best we could. We talked about what the experience might be like and what the possibilities were that it could actually lead to her ending up with an agent and an acting career. We really didn't know what to expect, but our entire family went with her to the event. We listened, took notes, and when it was her turn she walked up to the table. The scout asked her a few questions. She gave him confident answers. He saw within her the passion, the desire, the confidence that this was what she was meant to be doing. Next thing we knew we were sitting down again listening to the realities of being parents to a child actor. Those realities don't exactly mesh with my comfort zone.

We have an invitation to an event in 2 months to meet with agents. I posted this on facebook and got the expected responses that this was a scam and we should run, not walk, the other direction. Believe me, I had my scam radar turned way up through the entire experience. My daughter and I talked about scams and about how there were no guarantees that she would end up with an agent. This is what my daughter wants to do. If I say no to going, give her a lecture about starting local and working her way up, and give in to my desire to remain within my comfort zone, I am not honoring her passion. She has always been a child full of passion. She's not a start small kind of kid. When she played soccer she wanted to be a forward or the goalie, front line or last defense and nothing in between. She wants to be a film actor, not a community theater actor. Knowing this about her I know that she wants to go to this event, walk on that stage, perform her monologue, meet agents in person and embrace the experience. She may or may not end up with an agent, but she needs to seize the opportunity and see where she ends up. I need to support her by providing her with honest information about what to expect and the possible outcomes, without giving in to my fears or unnecessary negativity. I have to trust her knowledge of herself and of what she needs to do to follow her passion.

Right now I have no way of knowing how long this particular passion will remain a part of our lives. It's possible that this time next year I will be spending a great deal of time in LA getting a lot of crocheting done while accompanying my child actor. That's so far out of my comfort zone, and outside of my knowledge base, that I can only trust that I will learn what I need to know as we go along and that I will handle each new experience with grace. On the other hand, next summer may find our family following a brand new set of passions that are completely unexpected and unknown at this moment.

I am reminded of the Kimya Dawson lyrics Jess has on his blog, "So write and write and keep on writing, Just make sure your life's exciting." A few days ago I was thinking that my life wasn't all that exciting. How wrong I was. We are living the grand adventure of following our passions. It doesn't get more exciting than that!


  1. And I am EXCITED for all of you!!! Everything comes with risks, of course. You are all approaching this with eyes wide open, so I say, hooray!

  2. >>>That's so far out of my comfort zone, and outside of my knowledge base, that I can only trust that I will learn what I need to know as we go along and that I will handle each new experience with grace.<<<

    Hi Jenna,

    This sounds like something a new mom might say just before the birth of her first child! In a way, your kids are continually being born, aren't they, and you're developing grace and understanding with each new experience.

    I don't have kids, but I feel this way about myself sometimes. If I can remain open to whatever experience the day brings, it allows me a small rebirth and the opportunity to look for grace, understanding & good humor along the way. (I'm not consistently good at this, but I do see the opportunities most of the time, even if I don't always take them.)

    Love reading your blog!


    Katja (Annette's FB friend)