Fanning The Flames Of Our Children’s Interests


Fanning The Flames Of Our Children's InterestsAs every parent knows, one minute, your little one will be chin-deep in Princess Elsa dresses and fake tresses, and the next, they’ve gone all Team Ladybug vs Cat Noir on you. A child’s interests and passions are as telling about their personalities as the time they decide to dive deep into one subject matter or another.

My eight-year-old always seems to follow the music. If there is a movie, TV series, or album with songs that spark her little heart, she will live, breathe, and sing under her breath whatever new song(s) she’s found from dusk till dawn. Soon, she has her extremely patient violin teacher in on the new craze, learning the song in an easy-to-play version for her student’s stringed instrument.

My second grader is also interested — in the haphazard way of all eight-year-olds — in the fiber arts I tend to be consumed by. She will pick up a project such as knitting, crocheting, kumihimo, weaving, spinning, etc., and attempt to master it within an hour. After her attention wanders, she tends to forget the project for months. However, in this way, she does seem to be exposing herself quite thoroughly to a wide range of fiber interests, so I don’t complain. Perhaps some of them will stick, perhaps none.

Some passions and interests spark like a fire on wool, dying out as soon as the small tuft is ash. Other fires are well-stacked, ventilated bonfires that may see her through the rest of her life at the rate it seems to be throwing off heat. As a parent, it’s somehow become my job to manage, encourage — sometimes discourage — various discoveries. I bought all the sparkly blue fabric and wigs any toddler could handle, let her cover every surface of our dining room in various shades of paint and glitter, and provided her with a sewing machine that she could use when creative sewing was needed. There are so many other ways I’ve supported her through the years: ballet, gymnastics, swim team, Spanish, painting classes, and so on.

We have been blessed by the ability to let her imagination roam and follow behind her, cleaning up the combination of disastrous messes and complete and utter genius that results from her freedom to explore. It is difficult (and for some impossible) to give up the space, time, money, and sanity that goes along with this exploration. But, if you can, I encourage you to try to do a little — whatever you can.

As she settles into more manageable creative spurts with less excessive usage of glitter, I can attest that all the mess, the internet searches, the head-scratching through kits and how-to videos, and the purchases, have been worth it. My eldest is so creative. She has no hesitation when sitting down and using her imagination to build. She’s learned that some skills take time. She’s already surpassed me in many ways, and in others, I still have so much I hope she’ll be willing to learn.

So, when your little one declares they will wear nothing but green and wants to live in a trash can and eat cookies all day like the Cookie Monster, try to make it happen, if possible. Even if it’s just a fun day craft that involves Amazon boxes, green face paint, and more chocolate chip cookies than is healthy, one never knows where the imagination will lead! Be ready and be willing to follow along for the best ride of your life as a parent. You won’t regret it.

This is my hope,

This is my prayer,

Please Dear Lord, help me give the same space and attention to my littlest wonder as I’ve managed with my first.