“Something Special” by David McPhail


One way a parent can help their child to succeed in life is by helping them discover their talents. Am I presumptuous claiming that all children have a talent to discover?  Well, I do not mean, that we all should drag our kids to castings and photo-shoots, or force them to play soccer hoping to raise the next Ronaldo. The nuance in my assumption is that we all have SOME KIND OF TALENT that needs to be identified.  Perhaps not every gift can be commercialized or lead to a Nobel Prize, but if we only give a child a chance to follow their heart, they are sure to discover their greatness and happiness.

Sam thought he wasn’t great at anything. Unlike his sisters, he didn’t play the piano, and he wasn’t  a baseball champion. Unlike his brother, Sam wasn’t a computer whiz. Sam’s dad was a great cook and his mom liked to carve wooden birds, but Sam was good at neither. Sam tried to find his strength by trying different things, but in vain. Until, almost by accident, he discovered that he could actually paint. “Sam’s family thought that being able to paint was something special… and so did Sam.”

What I find crucial in this story are two things. First, Sam was let to explore until he found what suited him best. Secondly, when Sam has finally discovered his talent, the family appreciated it. Sounds obvious, but it is not always the case. Parents often have fixed and false ideas about what their children’s areas of interest should be and try to promote it at the cost of what the child really wants to do in life.  A promising dancer is pushed to become a lousy lawyer, just because the job is more secure. A talented athlete wastes his energy on playing the piano, because it was always his mother’s dream. I never even mentioned to my parents that I wanted to become a writer, as in their opinion it is not even a hobby, let alone a profession. Children need to be supported in following their dreams. At the same time, a smart parent can help a child to distinguish between a dream and illusion.  Just imagine how much shorter the lines for American Idol auditions would be…

Enjoy searching for that something special in and with your child. Maybe it’s their sense of humor, or great taste-buds, or maybe a charming voice. They have it in them. Help them to bring it out.

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