Developing New Talents When Things Don’t Go As Expected
A Talented Gymnast
My daughter was a very talented gymnast. She took All Around in State every year she competed! She began competing when she was 6 and until she was 13 years old.
I loved watching her! She was such an incredible ball of energy!
When she got sick all of that changed. It really felt like one minute she was winning the State meet and the next she was flat out with absolutely no energy and a totally different kid!
I realized that we had made mistakes in not developing more interests while she was following her passion. It was so hard to see that passion fade. Especially, because it wasn’t her choice. She tried for 3 years, after her Hashimoto’s diagnosis, to keep it up; but the pain from the disease intensified and her energy couldn’t keep up.
She no longer knew who she was or what she wanted. She lost confidence in herself. She knew she was a really good gymnast, but didn’t think she was very good at anything else. My barely teen was going through an identity crisis and it was so hard to watch!
She compared herself to her older sisters who all have amazing talents.
She didn’t want to try things because she couldn’t be good, right off the bat. It was hard to help her find motivation.
We began to search for new interests, encourage and try new things!
She tried kick boxing, but just like gymnastics it was a little too hard on her body. It turned out that there was wisdom in settling down and not doing such vigorous physical activities, because that’s when her numbers for Hashimoto’s really settled down and she started to feel better.
Feeling better but she lost her happy spark. We needed to find something to light that spark again!
When “A” was 7 years old she wanted an all gluten free restaurant. It was her dream and she saved every cent towards someday getting her own gluten free restaurant. Everyone in the family was going to work at her restaurant. Her oldest sister was going to be the chop chef, the next sister was going to be the baker, next sister would play the piano and sing for the guests, Dad would be the waiter and mom the head chef. She said her dad and I would be paid $12 a month!
I said to my husband, “You better make really good tips!” and then to little “A”, “I guess we will be living with you!”
However, as she grew and did more cooking she made some discoveries about herself. The biggest one being that she really doesn’t like to “cook”, but she does like to bake. She makes amazing desserts!
We have made it part of our homeschooling to have her do more baking and try new recipes. This has been fulfilling but only a tiny glow, not a spark.
“A” has grown up listening, watching and seeing different languages being spoken and written around the house by her second sister. “B” has a passion for languages and has learned 10 languages using YouTube and taking classes over the years. “A”‘s sister “B”‘s goal is to be a polyglot (knowing or using several languages)!
With this example from her sister, “A” studied Danish on Duo Lingo. She has gotten so good at it that when her oldest sister’s friend found out what she was learning, they discovered they could speak in Danish and Norwegian to one another! This friend took Norwegian in college and it is close enough to Danish that the two can understand one another.
“A” loves speaking in Danish! Her next language goal is Korean. It is coming out soon on Duo Lingo! She will be able to talk to her dad in Korean since he also speaks Korean. He lived in Korea for 2 years.
She had done a few plays over the years with our homeschool group and really enjoyed being in them. She played Molly in Annie and was a narrator in Mulon and most recently Jasmine in Aladdin Jr. We hadn’t planned on doing another play and had looked into some acting groups, but they were all full. Then, last year, a homeschool friend asked if “A” would do this play with her. They really needed more teenagers to participate, so “A” reluctantly did.
When she went to the audition she was determined that she just wanted to be a background participant in the cast. She did NOT want a main role and she definitely didn’t want to be Jasmine!!! So, of course, she was picked to play Jasmine.
Boy did we see her teenage angst come out as she played that part and was so frustrated with her father, in the play. More challenging for her were the embarrassing falling in love scenes with Aladdin. Gross! Especially, after watching her lovey dovey sister and her fiancé for the past several months leading up to this performance.
A job well done
She did amazing! She even enjoyed it, even though it wasn’t her favorite part to play. Her solo was amazing and her theater teacher said it brought tears to her eyes every time she sang because she did such a good job!
So, even though she wasn’t in love with doing this play, she gained confidence in her ability to sing and discovered that she really enjoys singing! She has a beautiful voice!
With this new found discovery she decided to take a singing class; which she absolutely loves!!!! However, she still won’t sing much around the house.
Her older sister sings a lot and often. This sister can often take over and out sing everyone. She doesn’t mean to, but she, too, enjoys singing and can get carried away. It helps a little that this sister is off to college, so little sister can develop her talents without extra pressure. I am looking forward to “A”‘s performance next month! Her teacher has had so many good comments about her and has also said that the feeling she sings with brings tears to her eyes.
She is taking after my husband, who loves it when he plays the piano or sings and people cry. It is one way he knows he is touching people. It is a sign of a good, touching performance. Having her teacher cry made her so happy and excited!
What she really wanted besides singing was a dance class, but that didn’t work out. (Maybe in the future we will be able to make that work.) However, we were able to get an acting class. She isn’t sure if she likes it. All the other kids seem so much more advanced and experienced than she is and it is a little intimidating. I am hoping she will let me help her polish up what she is working on. (This is my forte! I was a theater and communications major in college. I had a theater scholarship in college.)
Help from her sister-mentor
Her oldest sister has been an incredible help! She can get “A” to do things that I can’t. I can try and get her to try or do things but she gives me attitude or rolls her eyes, but big sister works magic!
The Art Challenge
My oldest daughter, Kaylee, is an amazing artist. She got an art scholarship for college and is opening her own on-line store featuring her designs.
Kaylee and her friend often do art challenges. They set a time period to work on things and themes to work on during that time. They enlisted my struggling youngest daughter and encouraged her art. Guess what! She has a gift for drawing! I thought she did, but she wouldn’t do it for me; but she would for these challenges and the encouragement of her oldest sister and her friend.
Right now they are doing Inktober. http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober/
I am so excited to see her blossoming with her art! Recently, she has said she would like to go to college to do art.
I have been seeing some sparks lately and I am so excited!!!
She is sparking with her singing and the success she is feeling there.
She is sparking with her art and the hopes for the future! Because of these sparks she is beginning to do more planning for her future and what she wants to do!
I am so happy and relieved to see sparks and passion coming back into her life!
Steps on Developing and Finding New Talents
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- Expect it to take some time to become good
- Find something you enjoy and put time into developing it
- Find a mentor- someone who can help guide and encourage
- Work on more than one interest, but don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Put the majority of your focus on your biggest interest that you want to improve.
- Set goals- Set small goals that will lead to your ultimate goal. Think about what do you want to get from your new talent, what do you want to do with it, and how can you share it. These things will help you measure your progress as you work your way to a bigger goal.
- Adjust goals as needed
- Don’t give up on finding your talents and passion!