Encouraging Happiness: Our children get one chance at being a child.

It’s inevitable that as a parent you will be asked, in a convincing way by your child to support their newest interest. Kids are naturally curious and spend a lot of their lives trying to find their place. What interests them, will it continue to interest them or are they going to stick it out and eventually be great at it. We as their parent have a few ways to respond to this but not all are going to encourage them.

My daughter at 10 saw that I had a guitar; one that I never got that good at, a beautiful red finish fender acoustic. She sat there holding it, plucking the strings, and taking it in and out of tune, just an overall amazement. We put it away and over the next couple days she would bring it up, asked why I didn’t stick it out and that maybe one day she would be able to play a song on it. For her birthday I bought her a ¾ size Yamaha acoustic guitar and signed her up for a month of lessons. I didn’t make a large investment in the guitar just in case she didn’t enjoy it.

Before I finish, this wasn’t the first hobby she was interested in which is why I didn’t make a huge investment into the guitar. She’s wanted to paint, write stories and cook. All of those I did the same thing, small investment because she was interested in them and if she wasn’t fully committed it didn’t break the bank.

She took on the guitar as if she was a natural. She played it constantly, day and night. She’d finish her homework and right to the guitar, day after day she played. I started to pay for more lessons and she continued to learn. She’s now 14 and still plays and man does she play. She’s moved onto a larger guitar that resembles the one I first showed her but this one she bought with money she saved from birthdays and Christmases. She was in a couple talent shows at school and for an introvert; this was a big day for her. When she started high school, guitar class wasn’t available so she signed up for piano and was able to grasp that just as quickly. She saved money again from her birthday, Christmas and from doing chores and bought herself a Yamaha keyboard. When she’s not playing guitar she’s playing piano. Music is what she enjoys; it’s what makes her happy when she’s not having the best day. It makes her mom and I happy to see that the investment we made, the encouragement we gave so many years ago paid off.

I tell you all that to tell you this. If your kid shows interest in something and comes to you about it, listen and encourage them. You don’t have to make a large investment in it, just enough to get them started. Let them feel it out, see if what they were thinking it was is actually that. If they say they aren’t interested in it anymore, fine. They tried and you helped them. Eventually they’ll come around to a hobby they love and can’t get enough of because you gave them the opportunity to find it. Too many times people force their kids into a hobby that they themselves may have been interested in and the kid is miserable. Sure they may be good at it but was it actually fun for them?

Our children get one chance at being a child, one day they’ll be an adult and have to deal with every adult thing we all deal with today. Let them be a child in a house with an encouraging parent, one who gives them a chance to grow and find what makes them happy. Because when they’re an adult, that hobby, that happiness just might be what helps them deal with being an adult.

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About the Author

Freddie Ballesteros

Freddie Ballesteros
Avid sleep walker, holds bronze medal in Princess House sales and I dance as much as that town in Footloose. Read Full Profile

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