In having a conversation with my teenage daughter this past Saturday, it hit me that she is already aware of her special talents and gifts.
It makes me very happy to know that as an 11th-grader, she is well on her way to understanding the unique characteristics and traits that differentiate her from others in the world. It is a challenge though to keep her interested in things that she has deemed are not important to her career path. The conversation went like this, “Jai, we have to find a better balance for your weekend schedule. You haven’t made time for your guitar lesson or anything other than basketball the last three weekends.” She responded, “I’m not really that interested in playing the guitar anymore, I’m going to play basketball in college so don’t worry about the music thing.” Whoa, really now? My first instinct was to inform her that continuing her guitar lesson wasn’t an option, and that wanting to play basketball in college doesn’t constitute giving up invested years of time. Then, it hit me, somewhere along the way she lost interest in playing the guitar. Although she lost interest, I continued to hold onto that idea. Wait, this clearly wasn’t the first time she surprised me with a lack of interest in an activity that I was more vested in for her than she was for herself.
After I got over myself and my frustration of feeling that I’ve wasted time and money, I had my own ah-ha moment. My idea of what I want my daughter to be like, is my own limited view based on my own experiences growing up, that determine what I think she needs. Yet, she is well on her way to understanding at 16 who she is, what passions she has and even what she believes her purpose is in life. And guess what? Her approach is rather, as a matter of fact-ish! Yes, she is well aware of her personal brand, what she wants to spend her time doing and how she wants to contribute to society. And nope, playing the guitar doesn’t seem to fit into the picture she created for now.
- Think about the things your teenager loves to do, most of the time their true talent is something they get completely lost in doing. Even ask your teen what is that they love doing and feel passionate about. Share with them your own talents and have a conversation around what you both are great at.
- Encourage your teen to participate in activities that will allow them to further develop those talents. The more they hone in and develop certain skills, the more confidence they will have doing them.
- When you recognize your teen doing something that showcases their talent, give them encouragement and make a it a big deal to them and every one around.
- Encourage them to join school or social clubs that will allow them to highlight or elevate their particular talent or gift. Volunteer opportunities are also great and a fun way to give back by helping them with their own personal development.
If they’ve identified their talents and gifts, push them. Accept the fact that we have our lives to live and they have theirs. Yes, our jobs are now to guide them on their way to becoming the best versions of themselves so let’s support them, engage them and encourage them to best use their abilities. Let’s help them do that, by visiting www.coke.com/PayItForward to nominate them for a chance to win a mentorship experience at the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy, plus a $5,000 scholarship. Also, don’t forget to join me and the other moms in the conversation. #CokeMiniMoments.