I know I bandy the term Passion around alot. What I mean is something you enjoy doing. Something that makes you happy. What ever makes you feel great inside. It might be a one off, or a life-long thing.
Today for example, we have had a cold wet winters day and have no commitments (unusual and wonderful!) So Charlie (8), has been in his pajamas all day and been totally focused playing this one game for hours and hours. He has got about ten different card and board games and made up a whole new and extremely complex game from them. It started because I cleared a table, he saw the space and BAM! his imagination took over. He is so content. I am so grateful that he could do this today, and we haven’t had to disturb him. I am supporting him by giving him food to eat there and listening to him explain various facets of the game. Today this has been his passion.
Not every passion is life enduring and whatever it’s length, it is not less worthy, or less meaningful. We had an amazing family passion for 4 months once. It coincided with a temporary living arrangement. It was the Titanic. The kids were 6, 4 and 1. We read and re-read every book on Titanic, the older two kids watched the movie, we played the song from the movie relentlessly for weeks on end, (you know the one – “My Heart Will Go On”). What was so interesting was how each of the older two took the topic and turned it to their passion, all the while totally living and breathing Titanic. As we did. For four months solid…
Hannah dressed up as someone from the Titanic. Then she acted the part and wanted to know about all the social nuances of the time. For example, she would be a 2nd class passenger, or a nanny of some second class passengers, or a maid from the first class….Then she would want to know if the maid could go down to 2nd class for a visit, or even to 3rd class. Could a 2nd class teacher, for example ever go up to 1st class, in any circumstance? What about the 2nd class nanny going down to socialise with the 3rd class folk? It was quite fascinating to say the least. She would also play ‘Jack and Rose’ from the movie, leaning out standing on a chair with Ollie while The Song blasted out.
Meanwhile, Ollie was captivated by how the boat actually sunk. He would corner old ladies in the supermarket, (honestly!) and with his hands, explain in his cute 4 year old voice how the boat snapped in two, how one half sunk first, the other tipped straight up and followed quickly. The main interest for him was also the discovery of Titanic in 1985, and the submersible used. (Random strangers got this explanation too!) The sub sent out a robot which could travel right inside the wreck and take video footage of the eerie remains. He loved how that happened and made models of the sub and robot, models of the actual boat, always pre-broken so he could easily demonstrate the sinking to anyone in a flash.
So they lived out their passions. Charlie just joined in with the general buzz and was occasionally called in to be an innocent passenger on a sinking mattress, not realising he was plunging into ice cold water in the middle of the night… Or a charge of the nanny from 2nd class… I loved snuggling into bed each night together and reading endlessly about the disaster and discussing every mind boggling question that arose from such intense scrutiny.
That was passion. I am guessing it would have faded into something else but was neatly contained into 4 months as we then bought a house and moved onto new adventures!
Other interests have been more enduring, spanning over entire 13 or 11 year lifetimes.
If you think your child doesn’t have a passion just observe them, trust them, keep showing them the world, write down a week long observation of them then read it back. Give them time to play…whatever they want, not whatever YOU want.
Everyone has something. Are you chasing your own passions everyday??