The pursuit of passion in career is often a hard-fought battle between the “have-to’s” and the “want-to’s”, with the “have-to’s” usually winning by a large margin. As a Family Coach, I often witness this battle on the front lines. It’s the classic case of the child who doesn’t like school but is an amazing artist, dancer, musician, actor, singer, or even a young and talented filmmaker. Yes, he may be failing English but his doodles may one day be considered Dali’s, with the right guidance of course. Parents want to see their children succeed in all areas of life but the reality is that kids, and parents too, are not meant to be successful in everything they try. We all bring to the table a personality ingrained at birth coupled with natural, raw talents that are nurtured (or not) through our environmental influences. The Multiple Intelligences Theory agrees that we are naturally gifted learners in a few choice areas with various learning styles to boot! But we have a major conflict in our current schools: one of conformity and compliance over the creative arts. Which begs the question: when you have a child with a strong inclination for the creative do you nurture them to conform instead?
If the answer is yes, you may risk pushing your kid into a career and thus a life plan that is not fully satisfying. If the answer is no, you may risk having them fail English. Like most things, we need a balance of the two but instead I often see frustrated parents giving ultimatums, negating choice all together. When this happens resentment rears its ugly head, often creating long-term scars of depleted confidence and a defeatist outlook. Instead, I coach my families to try to suss out the real reason their child is failing English and how we can incorporate his love of art with his need to learn allegories. Nothing is a perfect compromise but as long as parents are listening (really listening) and kids are talking (honestly and without attitude) the lines of communication remain open– ready for whatever the future has in store. Maybe even something magnificently out of the ordinary.
Christine Terry, J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com