There was a time--not very long ago--when most parents in India wanted their children to pursue either of the two professions: engineering or medicine.
Consider some of the impressions prevailing about other professions at the time: teaching was a noble profession, but paid poorly; banking was a steady job, but required extensive travel; business was an attractive option, but was too risky. And so on…
The children themselves may not have been keen on the two professions but were wary of offending their parents. In addition, they had to deal with peer pressure, family pressure and family pride. If you were ‘good’ at studies, you became an engineer or a doctor, period.
Eventually, most of those who followed their parents’ advice were happy with the career choices their families made on their behalf--but there were also a good many who were not.
The latter set of people continued to pursue the profession sans the requisite passion. Some of them gathered enough courage to make a switch to the vocation they were passionate about, and a few of them still hope to pursue their passion, in spite of doing well in their current profession.
To be fair to the parents--who always want the best for their children--back in the day, the opportunities were rather limited. It was the advent of computers that spawned a whole range of new opportunities. And suddenly, one found, one was spoilt for choices, and selecting the right profession suddenly became tougher than ever before.
Can passion alone decide what career option your child is going to pursue? How important is it to identify your kid’s passion and how can you help them nurture it as best as you can?
As parents, we need to:
- Be free of prejudice: Be prepared to accept what your child has decided to do. All professions are equally important and fulfill a certain role in society.
- Trust the gut feeling: Parents know about their children best. Has your child shown an artistic temperament, a head for numbers, or a flair for the languages?
- Respect child’s judgement: Don’t be alarmed by or be sceptical about the choice your child makes. Your only worry should be to provide support to nurture that passion.
- Support the passion: Being passionate about what they do brings out the best in children and being able to do it with full parental support is like the icing on the cake.
- Accept setbacks: Don’t let the fear of failure deter you or your child from pursuing the passion. Early setbacks are common, even desirable, for eventual success.
Finally, take time off to identify what interests your child as it may not become apparent straightaway. It may even change several times in the initial stages as your child weighs her options. Be patient, and discuss the topic often, but stand by your child’s decision.
Passion kindles imagination, which in turn unleashes the creativity in your child. As Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”