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Mentoring children: Your child is unique

LAST week we started discussing the four P’s of the parents’ role in mentoring children: Purpose, Potential, Passion and Preparation. We dealt with the first two. Today we shall deal with the last two: Passion and Preparation.
One of the means by which a parent can get a good idea of the area of gifting of their child is by keenly observing what the child is passionate about.
The trouble with some parents is that, just because they are passionate about a particular pursuit, they fall into the temptation of forcing it on their child. Just because you love accountancy does not mean you should then shove it down the throat of your child. Guiding your child into the right career is not an ego trip: you and your child are two different individuals with two different destinies.
You cannot use your child to achieve your dream; they can only achieve their own dream.
There can be no success in any pursuit without passion. To be successful at what you do, you have to love and enjoy doing it. LeBron James plays basketball with a passion. Messi plays soccer with a passion. Serena plays tennis with a passion. Bill Gates is passionate about computers. Oprah is on point when she states, “Passion is energy.
Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” And Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists of all time, once said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” What is that thing which your child enjoys doing? What is your child passionate about? Which school subject or subjects is your child passionate about?
Talk about school brings us to the second P: preparation.
School, or education, is a critical means of preparing your child for the future. One of the greatest injustices you can ever commit against your child is to fail to send them to school.
There are two main reasons why you need to invest in your child’s education. First, whatever area of gifting your child has does not make school irrelevant.
I was impressed, back in February this year, by the behaviour of Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United prodigious talent who, despite scoring two brilliant goals against Arsenal on his debut, refused to spend the night celebrating his achievement.
The reason, according to him, was because he needed to prepare for his chemistry examination which he was due to sit for the following morning. At 18, he is still in school and wants to do well not just on the football pitch but also in class. Quite amazing, this young man; he refused to allow his new-found fame to get to his head or make him forget the importance of school. Quite a contrast to some of our local footballers who think school does not matter.
Second, sending your child to school gives them a chance to evaluate their academic abilities. It also gives you a chance to assess their abilities in the context of school. This is because your child’s gifting may be determined by assessing their school work. They may, for instance, turn out to be very good in mathematics or the sciences.
This might mean they could be successful in a career where a good knowledge of mathematics or the sciences would be helpful. You might, for example, have to purchase the appropriate books for them, or expose them to situations which will help sharpen their abilities. What school subject or subjects would you say your child is good at? Where does their strength lie?
School is a critical phase of the development of a child. Next week, therefore, we begin to explore the role of the school and the teacher in mentoring of the child.

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