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Help your child develop his talent

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Parenting

Parenting

As I write this, I am looking at the beautiful house, which is said to belong to a popular musician. It is a three-storied mansion in an upscale part of Lagos. The musician himself is the son of very educated parents who are industrialists. With this background, the young man must have a university education but I don’t know to what level.

But the point, however, is that his certificate is not what has brought him fame. His popularity comes from his chart topping albums.

We are not saying that in recognizing and helping your child to develop his talent, you should not encourage him to get education to the highest level possible for him. Education is important and parents must insist on it. But would it not be better to spot what they are good at and help them to pursue it in the line of education? It should save time and money; and make less stress for the young one who has to struggle to read what is difficult for him to understand, all because his mum and dad wanted him to be a Doctor when he would be good as an Artist.

We stress, therefore, that as children go to school, that parents should spot their talent and help to develop them even when they are not the career choice that the parents would have preferred.

“In the final years of secondary school, we were expected to choose the subjects to concentrate on in preparation for the secondary school leaving examinations. The ones who wanted to study medicine-and if truth were to be told, I would say I had mates who were chosen naturally to be medical doctors-the school selected them according to their performance and they were put in the A-class. The one who were equally science inclined but were good in the arts were put in the B-class-this class produced a female pilot. The C-class was a bunch of maybe students; students who may do well in many careers but who seen to be mostly inclined to the arts, but they were not dull students in any way.

“Yours truly is the child of a medical doctor who also was a medical director who owned a hospital. I am the first child and my father had always had this belief that I was the one to inherit or take over the hospital when I was old enough, but as a qualified doctor. I wanted to honour his dream of course although it was beyond me. So it was a shock to him when I was placed in the C-class. He came fuming to the school that they should put me in the A-class but the teachers stood their ground. Personally, I was not surprised at the turn of events because I was never a science student although I finally studied Economics. I understood his disappointment,” one woman once revealed.

Parents have been known to put that much pressure on their offspring; they want to tailor their lives, they want to influence their course of studies at school. The feeling is that; if I am this person, my child should be like me or follow in my footstep. Some parents may also feel that, “I was denied the opportunity to go to school and study to become an Accountant, but I can afford to pay for the education now and see my child become a chartered accountant. I should live the dream through my child.”

Also, with some parents, a child’s achievements in the sciences, especially is a status symbol. They want neighbours, friends and acquaintances to see that they have very bright children.

In their pride, they may not notice that although the children may have obeyed the parents, that they may not be happy or even good at what they do.

However, parents have now realized that there are more ways children can excel and make the family proud even if they do not have the ability to give the answer to a complex mathematical puzzle. Take the parents of footballers whose educational certificate must certainly not be the source of their immense income.

The girls who take part in beauty pageants or become international models possess enough intelligence to study for those subjects we consider the preserve of the brainy ones and they do go to school, too, and some become lawyers who have been called to the Bar officially. Still they leave the legal profession to pursue jobs of their convictions. Some lawyers drop the wig and gown to become fashion designers for example and do well and are known better than they would have been recognized were they to work in the courts or corporate organizations.

Medical doctors have left the field of medicine to make career in the beauty industry.

The other day, I read with amusement, an interview granted by a smug Nigerian girl who works abroad as a model. According to her, her host country has been good to her in terms of her job. But I was at the same time thinking about many girls who are like her in this country; young women who complain of lack of job after they have finished school; they have finished the course set by parents but fail to get the job because in practice, it is alien to them and employers notice, too.

Helping your child is all about accepting that he or she is different from you and may not become who you want her to be. What your child needs is for you to be happy for her when she does well in her own chosen profession; your happiness adds to her sense of fulfillment.
A parent’s duty, therefore, is to guide.

The first step is to help the young one to discover her strength and weaknesses through education. I have come across people who disobeyed their parents’ wish to study a different course but who later went to take up what was chosen for them initially. Your duty is to love and encourage her despite the fact that with her beauty, you had expected her to be a model but she chooses to bury herself among books as a teacher.

An acquaintance and her daughter inspired this article. The girl is someone their neighbours describe as spoilt. I am bound to agree because she changed secondary school three times before she finished at 17. She repeated the exams until she got the right qualification to go further.

One day, I asked where she was and the mother said she was out. She took the opportunity to talk about the disagreement they had before the girl went out but made light of it. When we began to talk about school, the mother declared that her daughter was very creative. There was shock in the faces of the other women who knew the girl and thought that the creativity was in the blue eye pencil and her heavy face make-up. The mother knows that, her friend told her.

Well, creativity is creativity and although she may have quarreled with the girl, but she sees her talent in art which the girl is studying in one of the Francophone countries at the moment. That is accepting your child for who she is.


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