My 16-year-old son has an interest in photography. To pursue that interest, he started posting his pics on Instagram (@nathaniel_osborne). He also has an interest in cooking. To pursue that, he has applied for a summer internship working in a kitchen. In all of his pursuits, my wife and I try to support and encourage him. As our 4-month-old grows and develops interests of his own, we will support and encourage him as well.
When I was a teenager, before social media existed, I developed a keen interest in learning to play guitar. My parents, who had encouraged my previous love for art (sketching), supported my newfound infatuation with music. My Dad taught me every chord he knew and handed me his old songbook. They bought me my first electric, a left-handed white on black strat copy that I still cherish. Of the 5 guitars I currently own, two came from my parents; and that doesn’t even begin to do justice to the encouragement they gave. Their support and encouragement helped me develop skills, and from those skills came character, confidence, social opportunity, an ability to contribute to culture, and even a few bucks every once in awhile. This is why I support, encourage, and in the case of my son’s Instagram promote the pursuits of my children.
We all have interests, but it seems to me that too few adults engage theirs. Life gets in the way, and it often seems there’s just not enough time. But if we were to find time … even if it’s just once in awhile … to stop and take a moment for ourselves, how much happier could we be?
The world is changing fast. More and more, people are finding time to engage in all kinds of different interests. Technology helps with that, and socially motivated priorities are shifting the focus as well. While it’s easy for us Dads to sit in our comfy chairs saying “hey you kids! Get off my lawn,” I think we should embrace change. Foster the dreams of your children, and if you don’t understand ask questions. It’s remarkable how receptive your kids will be if they feel supported and encouraged. 🙂