When reflecting on the dynasties of doctors or lawyers or sportsmen, I always wonder if kids were really born to continue the profession of their parents, or they simply somehow “didn’t know any better”? Same with hobbies, same with skills…
I wonder: do we intentionally or unintentionally limit our kids by primarily passing on to them what we ourselves know and like? (I guess an immediate disclaimer here would be that I am not talking about teenagers, this far it is about toddlers and up to 8 year-olds. Teenagers for me is still uncharted territory. 🙂 )
To provide some context, I play golf. I don’t teach (neither do I actively encourage) our kids, for example, to play volleyball, or ride a horse. There is a big chance that they will soon join us on the green (which is great!). Even our 2-year old seems to like it. Yet, I wonder if she likes the game or does she like the fact that she is playing the game her parents and older siblings play?
Another thing: I have recently taught our daughter some latte art basics. All fine, but then again… If I had been drinking tea, my kids by now would probably have known the difference in temperature required to brew different types of it, but they don’t. However, they do know the difference between latte and latte macchiato, so they are in fact limited by… my preferences.
The question, thus, is: should we focus less on trying to “teach” what we know? Maybe our primary “task” is not to share our own passion, our own flame, but to show our kids very different examples of what’s possible? And maybe even a step further: maybe we should explore and learn more together with them?
In fact, I guess it is very easy to fall into a trap of “let’s share our own flame”. To try to offset this a bit, a while ago we bought a piano. I didn’t know how to play it, neither did my husband, but we wanted to trigger our kids to explore, and perhaps also to learn to play ourselves. Now, I have learned a couple of simple melodies, while our daughter is already nailing “We are the champions” and “Kalinka”.
I wonder what should we buy next? 🙂
To conclude, I am convinced that as long as there is a healthy balance between passing on your existing knowledge and skills, and enabling kids to expand their horizons (by your own example, encouragement, or sometimes – just by giving them tools), teaching and sharing what you know is a great thing to do. The challenge is, of course, in finding this right balance…
What do you think? Do you primarily teach your kids what you know yourself, ignite them with your own flame, or do you try to explore new things with them, and expand your own and their horizons?