POTENTIAL! POTENTIAL! POTENTIAL!
That’s what I see whenever I look at my 12yr old daughter.
Now, it’s not that she is not a moody and grumpy child (just like her mum), nor am I saying she can’t be lazy or even naughty; what I am saying is that she is a child like every other child out there, fighting the hormones, learning subjects she is probably not going to use in her future career (maybe except the basic – Maths, English & Science), making and loosing friends, learning how to behave in public, etc. I could go on and on and bore you to death.
And like every other child, she has something else deep within her soul begging to come out, burst, explode – it’s what I call a POTENTIAL.
First, let’s understand what the term means, I have chosen three definitions from the world wide web:
1. Having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future. (when used as an adjective)
This is when we say – “Aliyah is a potential chef” (i.e. we mean Aliyah loves cooking and cooks extraordinarily well for her age.)
2. Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness. (as a noun)
This is when we say – “Aliyah is a young interior designer with great potential.” (i.e. we mean Aliyah has actually done something related to interior design, either as a course studied or a hobby, and she produced wonderful works of design.)
3. The quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field. (when used as a noun in physics)
In this case, I will draw similitudes –
a) Quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field =
Quantity (excellence of finished product)
determining the energy of mass/charge (talent)
in a gravitational field/an electric field (field of work/study/hobby).
All three definition have two things in common – having an ability and driving that ability!
The beautiful thing about potentials is that every child was born with it, you don’t learn it but you learn to develop it. No matter the physical or learning challenge an individual has, it doesn’t stop a potential from developing if the right environment is created for development.
Switching back to me:
Back in the days, the rule of thumb was that you had to be either of four main careers when you grew up: Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer or Architect (A typical Nigerian home), or else why are your parents wasting money to send you to school?
Now it’s different because the products of that generation (maybe due to global economics or just plain frustration) have decided to think differently.
My daughter has a very creative streak, I know because she got it from me. She loves to sit in her spare time and make things, from necklaces, to bracelets, to purses, to cases, baskets, e.t.c. from different materials. She converted an old biscuit tin into a craft case. She takes her time to combine shapes and colours such that you are amazed at the results. The other day, she asked me for an orange and I told her to go take one. I noticed it took her quite a while to finish that particular orange but I didn’t press her as to why. Later, I was looking through my phone and I saw a picture of my daughter’s orange (below) – she called it her flower.
As a teacher, I had to go into reflection mode and I know that the best thing to do will be to help her bring out her creativity and take it to another level. Yes, she must finish her secondary and tertiary education in a certain field but if she decides she wants to let her creativity determine her career, I would probably encourage her to sign up for a Design, Business Administrative, Management, or even Marketing. She is currently a science student but that doesn’t mean she can’t use that in whatever designs she wants to create in the future.
As a child (and till now), I loved to draw and drew better pictures than my mates. I also loved to make things from paper but I just never had the right environment or encouragement to develop it so I sort of just pushed it aside and use it once in a while when I am doing the mother-children craft activity with my children.
If parents can just take 5-10mins a day to actually observe their child, take cues from their teachers and try to pinpoint what actually takes up the concentration of their child in a constructive manner, they will indeed be doing a great service to that child. Try to discover the talent in your child and channel your energy into helping him or her to use that talent positively and constructively. It doesn’t have to be a physical activity, it could be that your child is a potential orator or writer. And at the end of it all, your child will truly love you for being a true parent.
Here are some quotes I love that you can show your child:
Having said that, though I am planning on taking my 12yr old to a 4 day craft course this holiday, I still haven’t gotten round to pinpointing the talents in her three younger siblings -10, 7, and 4yrs old. I hope I can find their own hidden talent as easily as it was for their elder sister.