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What Will Become of You?

What Will Become of You?

I’ve been guided to much clarity over the years to the importance of nurturing our young children’s interests – their authentic interests – not the ones we sometimes limit them to and then make them choose. As I look at my own life and those of many around me, I see so much to fascinate about.

Here are just a few stories that are fresh in my mind:

#1. As a well-conditioned adult, I held jobs that required lots of structure and uniform thinking. I was good at those jobs. The idea of entrepreneurship was terrifying to me and very far back in my mind as a possibility. I had no idea how to self discipline or self motivate. I was taught and learned to be very good at jumping through hoops others set for me. The rewards of praise, grades, money and societal status were my motivators. After my first child was born and I realized I would not return to work because I just had to be a full time mother, I was immersed in a life of my own design. Home every day, I didn’t have anyone pushing and prodding me to set or achieve the next goal. I had to figure it out. Years later when our family income went to zero after my husband was laid off, I knew I wanted to begin creating an income but not get a job; I was first and foremost a full time mom. The short version of a much longer story is that I became an entrepreneur, and a very happy one. The point of this story is that I have since recalled with much clarity that when I was a young girl I was a natural entrepreneur: at age 8, 9 and 10 I was creating and running a fun and successful neighborhood nursery school and carnival, loved for years by all the neighborhood kids and their parents. My dream even back then was to own a business or store where everything in the store was handmade – by me. I had completely lost touch with this natural desire and ability as I moved along on the standard educational treadmill.

#2. My family was together this weekend and we were all engrossed in reading my youngest son’s baby diary which I kept when he was little. We were shocked to read that at just 3 years old I was predicting that he would become a chef: he was intensely observant and very interested in everything I did in the kitchen, even loving it while hanging over my shoulder in his baby backpack on my back from very little on. He even had his own little cutting board and knife at age 2.5 to help me cut vegetables (I noted in the diary that there were only a few minor injuries as a result!) This son took his first chef job just last fall at age 22 at a super hip restaurant with an innovative and always evolving menu and not only loves it but is excellent at it.

#3. I have been spending time with a little boy lately. He is just now turning two years old and only says one word reliably: yes. He loves balls, and basketballs seem to be his favorite kind of ball. I got him a bucket of hand selected goodies and toys for Easter a few weeks ago, along with a blue basketball which did not fit in the bucket. When he saw his goodies, he only saw the ball. His joy and enthusiasm was electric and he showed zero interest in anything else. Last week he went for a walk through my neighborhood in a stroller. As he passed a house with a basketball net, he pointed eagerly. Hmmm… what is he pointing at? A car, no! shakes his head. A dog, no. A kitty, no. A bird, no. A kid, no. A basketball net? YES!!! he says. He discovers every single basketball net in the neighborhood during his walk. When returning to my house he doesn’t want to get out of the stroller. Do you want to go for another walk? YES! Do you want to see all the basketball nets again? YES!!

It is so easy to discount the interest of a two-year-old, technically still an infant, and chalk it up to something insignificant or simple or not really pay any attention to it at all. From what I have learned about the relationships between childhood interests and passions and adult work/play and joy/fulfillment, I wholeheartedly support your paying close attention. Nurture those interests. Watch them grow and lead to authentic challenge, contentment, confidence and growth. Growth which is ideally suited to the individual and that which opens all doors for opportunity, change and radical, life affirming fulfillment on so many levels.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dear Barb,
    For those of us who are already well-conditioned adults who realize they have tried to attain society’s goals but not their own, heartfelt ones for too long – how can we go about rediscovering these true interests?
    All the best,

    April 17, 2012
  2. This is a million dollar question Robyn and getting to the answer is different for everyone. In a nutshell, finding or rediscovering your authentic self depends upon how long it takes to work through the layers of psychological baggage and conditioning that cover it. For some it may never happen, for others it can happen quickly.

    Here is what I would advise:

    – spend time consciously acknowledging that you deserve and have a right to feel good, exuberant, fully alive and fulfilled. All the time. Just imagine what that would feel like. Do this until it becomes easy to feel and you believe it.

    – keep notes or a journal or just ask yourself often ‘what do I naturally love?’ For me, as I began my entrepreneuring journey, the main thing I loved was being a full time mom. I knew that whatever I did had to allow for maximum time spent with my children and that I could not leave home to create an income. My businesses have all centered on the joy of parenting and what I have learned about being with children. No matter what it is for you, honor it. Nothing is off limits or silly or inconsequential.

    – know that you can begin anytime and take baby steps. Even in the midst of a full time job you don’t enjoy or resonate with, you can take steps toward experimenting with things that feel good, feel like fun, you can feel the self as a motivator. The more you are able to move in the direction of doing things that feel genuinely satisfying, the more doors will open for you… yes, like magic. It’s metaphysics and how all good and bad things happen in the world.

    – allow yourself, push yourself if necessary, to be genuinely grateful every day. Look for things and people to be grateful for and then show your gratitude. It doesn’t matter how many bad or sucky things there are going on in your life, there are also good, positive things happening too. Revel in those. Allow yourself to expound on what IS working, fantasize about your self designed world in which everything is working the way you want it to.

    April 17, 2012
    • Robyn #

      Dear Barb,
      Thank you so much! Printed your advice, highlighted the essentials, will stick it to my bathroom mirror and try any and all of the above!
      I am so happy I found you and your blog and can learn all these things to the benefit of the children I hope to have one day!
      Best wishes,

      April 17, 2012
      • yay! will you post again after a week or two and let me know how it’s going?

        April 17, 2012
        • Robyn #

          If you’d like me to, I gladly will!

          April 17, 2012
          • Robyn #

            Dear Barb,
            As I promised, I would like to let you know how following your “4-point-program” above worked out for me.

            So far, I worked on #1 and it worked out great! As synchronicity wants it, my boyfriend took me to a 3-day-vacation – he had organised everything, so I could concentrate full-time on being fully alive and exuberant 🙂 It might take some time to sink in and become a habit, but I’m on a good path!

            #4 is very much connected to this – the little vacation jumpstarted me on a huge wave of genuine gratitude that I will work on keeping!
            So along the lines of #3, I’ll stick with these two points for the moment (baby steps)and get to #2 as soon as I think I have a good grip on the others (if there should any thoughts be surfacing before, I’ll note them, of course).

            One funny thing: my handwriting got much larger and more bold – seems like I dare “taking up more space” in any sense!

            Thank you so much for your generous help! I’ll let you know as soon as I have found my passion 🙂

            All the very best,

            May 3, 2012
            • good news! how about just enjoying momentary passion? this moment feels good, I like it, I like to feel this way, I can feel this way whenever I want.

              May 3, 2012
              • Robyn #

                Dear Barb,
                Maybe I should really try momentary passions for a while – as an exercise of bein in the NOW. However, I have always been of the conviction that if we want to reach the horizon, we have at least to reach for the stars. So I hope to find a more permanent guiding star, a big challenge that I can reach for.

                May 4, 2012
                • ahhh, I suspect that’s an integral part of your inability to make progress toward joy. The stars will reveal themselves as you allow yourself to appreciate and enjoy your moment by moment time… like magic.

                  May 4, 2012
  3. This is totally me. I was fascinated with books and writing since I was a very young child. I always wanted to be a writer. Over the years, I let myself be talked out of it via the usual advice, “there’s no money in it,” “you’ll get lots of rejection slips,” etc. I ended up going to college for broadcasting, and working for many years in public radio. An ethical and reliable job, with good people, a great job in fact, but not my passion. Now I’ve come full circle and I’m a “real” writer, with a book contract! (Very excited about that!!!!!!!)

    What I’ve discovered is that my calling is to write about spirituality and help people discover their personal paths, and to offer them tools along the way. And it’s such a joy! Nope, I’m not making a living at it yet, but I’m well on the way to that, and I’m happy to do the other things that I do to financially support it (including doing sub shifts at the public radio station!) because I know it means I get to do more of what I love – writing! Great post, Barb, thanks for sharing it.


    April 17, 2012
    • Yay, good for you Nikki. It feels so good, doesn’t it?!?!

      April 17, 2012
    • Hi Nikki. Thank you for your story and inspiration. These past few months I have seen/felt a tremendous shift in my “ideas” for my daughter. I saw that she loved the arts; she is an artist, singer, dancer, and performer. A thought came to me to ask her if she wanted to take a class in theater. She loved the idea but neither of us were keen on the forced separation of the two of us because the studio feels that parents inhibit the creative expression of the children. We decided that the time was not right for us and we did not have another option. I knew she wanted to do it so we decided to check it out again in the fall; she is feeling that perhaps it is not so bad to be away from mom and I am learning that perhaps it is not so bad to be away from her. The funny thing is that once we reached this point of giving it serious consideration at a later date, suddenly strange thoughts popped up in my mind. “Why are you encouraging her to explore theater and performing arts? There is no money in that!” Oh my, the critical mind of conditioning. I countered with what seems to be becoming my mantra: “I will allow her to follow her own interests no matter where they may lead and I will support her in whatever way I can even if she does something I may not agree with.” I have many layers of conditioning and I need this statement to remind me to break through another layer toward the promised peace. Once I did this my mind started cogitating on other possibilities for theater such as how she could help heal the world. Granted that is my vision for my life and I am working to not impose my agenda on her, but at least my mind is open to other possibilities. I do wonder if this idea is for me to pick up and build up a talent of mine in singing; perhaps developing that talent would help me assist the world in healing. Thank you, as always, for letting me develop a thought flow and for being a sounding board of sorts.

      June 15, 2012

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