I’m not sure there is anything more delightful than watching your child do something they truly love. I’ve long known my daughter is creative and more than anything is highly kinesthetic. From the age of 10 months, she enjoyed the sensation of smearing food over her arms, which then progressed to painting her body at age two and three, to squishing and wiggling her toes in the mud, and she was always the kid to play the longest with a sensory material such as slime or goop. Combine this with her love of creating, and the fact she is older now, I purchased her a series of pottery lessons at 798 Art District.
The way her eyes lit up as her hands moved and shaped the wet clay, I knew we had found something that makes her spark inside.
Kind of like the time we got lost in the mountains trying to find an ‘off the beaten track’ down from the Great Wall. While my other children were crying, my daughter was relishing every minute, swinging from tree branches across the slippery slopes, singing made up songs, her face full of joy. After 6 hours, and back on the track, she was the one skipping down the bush track with her face still lit up, her heart full of joy, and her entire being energized, when everyone else was tired. That’s when I fully realized how being in nature, and especially the mountains, ignites the spark of joy inside her. When I saw her climb on top of a rock, and lose herself in movement as she was ‘filling herself with power from nature,’ I can see that she is truly filling up her soul with something that brings her deep joy. And so now, I try and create even more opportunities for her in nature.
The ‘spark’ is different from just ‘enjoying’ a hobby. The ‘spark’ is when your child comes truly alive, and leaves you thinking ‘wow,’ this is what this child was born to do.’ It is our role, as guides for our children, to try and find those things that make a child spark with joy, and help the child to develop those interests and passions. If we observe our child, without forcing any of our own agenda or hopes and dreams for their future, we can see what they are drawn to, what they lose themselves in, and hopefully, what brings them sheer joy.
This doesn’t mean enrolling your child in every ASA (after school activity) that is available in the hope that you will discover what makes them really come alive. Watch them in everyday life – what are they attracted to? Is it music, dance, intense physical movement, sensory stuff, creating, building, or taking things apart? Expose them to things in your home that can give you clues and insights into what their future passions will be, then create opportunities for your child to do that and enjoy watching your child as they really come alive.