Talent discovery – finding the sweet spot of children – has become a major and widely discussed topic online and beyond. The gospel of “what does my child do best?” has become increasingly important. Popular questions and topics around talent discovery include:
- What does my child do easily and naturally well?
- What can my child do for so long without getting tired?
- What’s so fulfilling for my child?
In this post, we will be looking into how to find the sweet spot of your child: How do you help your kid discover his or her talent?
Square peg in a round hole?
When your child is simply extraordinary, unique, or following the beat of a different drummer, schooling might seem a bit difficult in a typical traditional school setting.
Truth be told, a square peg would not fit into a round hole. Many times the best we can do is to find a balance between changing the education system – the way things are expected to be – via adapting to the way things are and also allowing new programs or mindset. Doing this would help our kids, the square peg, learn how to embrace the opportunities and processes within these programs.
Our kids have unique sets of talents and skills. Finding the sweet spot for our children is very important in how they process experiences and cope with life situations. This could be a challenge especially if your child doesn’t see meaning in his or her school day.
In many of these situations, this level of disconnect presents behaviour-related issues and poses another set of challenges, often requiring the support of an effective education advocate. If our children can find the connection between their passion, purpose, and interest with future employment, it would be an amazing experience for the family and the society at large.
Most recently, Microsoft announced an innovative effort to reach into the Autism community and recruit future employees through various programs including scholarships and internships. This is great news since many kids today have demonstrated talents and aptitudes which appear to be exactly what Microsoft and other technology companies are looking for.
In a post about finding one’s sweet spot in the twenties, published on Skip Prichard website, it is said that:
“If you imagine a Venn diagram, finding your sweet spot is at the intersection of four interlocking circles. The first circle is about your personality – the specific tendencies and temperament you’re hardwired. The second circle is your giftedness, your marketable skills talents and strengths that some were born with and others developed over time.
“The third circle is your passions – the things that ignite your soul. And when you combine that with addressing the needs of the world that becomes a powerful force in discovering your calling. Lastly and not least, it’s your life story. You have gone through specific experiences, the ups and downs, the open doors and closed doors in life.”
How to Help Your Child Discover and Grow His or Her Talent
There is a popular saying that states that “Charity begins at home.” Whatever the child is going to become, the parents have a long way to go in helping the child discover his or her talent.
- Be observant
More often than not, children do not know their own talent. It is in the interest of the parents and perhaps teachers to be on the lookout to find out what makes the child more excited and what makes him or her different from others. If your child likes to sing every time or respond to music, it could be a sign that that music is the sweet spot.
- During play, watch
Does your kid naturally gravitate toward group activities or solo projects? Does he or she prefer running around or sitting quietly? Which does he or she like: crayon, drumsticks or building toys? Look at your child’s choices during play while alone or in a group.
- Give your child opportunities
When talent meets opportunity, it shows. Let your child explore. If you allow your child to try a lot of things, you’ll be able to see if he or she is passionate about it. A child’s formative years are very important in forming a talent into skills. If you don’t allow hidden talents to blossom, you will suppress it. You can do this by introducing her to different topics, games, skills and activities, and helping him to pursue them.
- Praises and encouragement
Praises and encouragement will go a long way to developing your child’s recognized talents. Let your child know you’re proud of his or her abilities and show an interest in the subject of his or her passion whether or not you share it.
Look for different ways and opportunities for her to demonstrate her skills. Let her go through courses and competition that would enhance the skills. Get her the equipment and tools needed to horn the skill. As we do in our school, teachers should also give praises and encouragement on unique skills.
- Inspire your child
When nurturing talent in your child, take every opportunity to broaden and enrich his or her understanding of the subject. If your child likes music, take her to concerts. If she seems to be a good actor, let her watch movies and take her to real-life drama shows.
- It’s not about you
While helping your child discover and nurture his or her talent, put aside your self-interest, prejudices and preconceptions. Just because you are a professional jazz pianist doesn’t make your child one too. Don’t be disappointed by your child’s lack of interest in an activity.