Fuelling Your Teen’s Passion, no matter what the path
If you spend five minutes on your insta feed, most likely you will find something along the lines of the above quote. Passion. We all want to feel passionate about something, someone, about our lives, about what we do daily. If you are in your 40’s or older, you probably grew up with Oprah inspiring you to “Live your Best Life.” And, of course, we should. Follow your passion and it will lead your to your purpose. But what happens when it all falls apart? What happens when the very thing you are MOST passionate about is taken from you? AND what happens if this is one of your children and you are left trying to guide, mentor and console them not really knowing how YOU, a grown ass adult would handle it – never mind an adolescent in the most volatile period in their development.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as my daughter has been sidelined from her passion due to an injury and as a family we have been dealing with the emotional turmoil that goes along with this. If pubescent mood swings weren’t bad enough, now we have the pent up energy of a child who has 30 hours of “free time” on her hands… Her injury is not career ending, and she will be back in full swing in the next few months but the experience of a sidelining injury has made me think about other moms in similar situations. Kudos to the moms that support and guide these high performance, passionate kids that suddenly have their dreams (even for a short while) taken away. Almost daily we hear of high performance athletes that have their paths changed due to injury or other circumstances. How does the family help pick up the pieces? How do we challenge our children to stay positive and focused on the end goal? How to we put things into perspective in a way that their little “all about me” brains can understand?
And then, what happens when everything, and all your child has done in their formative years ends up in a career ending injury? Or what happens when passion and ability don’t align? How do we, as mother’s shift the thought process in our child, guide and nurture without killing the passion? Not everyone is going to be an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have the Olympic spirit. It also doesn’t mean that they won’t see huge success in their lives, thanks at least in part, to that passion.
We received a rude awakening when the sports med doctor ordered complete rest, and told us to use the time off to figure out “what else you like to do.”
What?? Pretty tough for someone who has never even considered anything else. A huge blow to the child who has just been told she can’t do what she lives and breathes. Not a bad suggestion, in any way, but something we had not yet considered and something I could tell hit her hard. When you watch your child struggle in any way, your mother instinct is to make it better and then stay up all night trying to figure out ways to do just that. Not unlike when they fall in the park and we brush off the gravel and blow on the skinned knee, we feel compelled to action. I don’t know about you, but the feeling of having to act – in some form, in some way, keeps me up at night and has been somewhat paralyzing. We wrack our brains trying to make it right for our kids. This hiccup initially had me worried about the emotional stability of a girl who puts it all out “on the dance floor,” but has left me sure of three things while I try to sleep each night.
- They are so blessed to have something in their lives they are passionate about. As parents we need to celebrate the fact that they ARE passionate about something. In a world full of possibility and disappointment, they have found joy. No matter what they are doing, nor how much success they find doing it – they have joy in their lives. Gosh, I don’t know about you – but I feel that this notion alone should make me sleep like a baby…
- Discipline, great habits, integrity, and resilience. These are just a few of the skills that come with participation in an activity that you are passionate about – all skills you want to check off your parenting list. I feel a deep restful sleep coming on…
- Passion is never a dead end. No matter what, being passionate about a sport, artistic endeavour or scholastic achievement leads somewhere. If nothing else, it brings a lightness to this often so heavy, anxiety producing world our kids are growing up in. Having the road turn, dealing with disappointments and facing road blocks is part of life. Perhaps expectations have to be adjusted, or altered but the passion is there and where there is passion, there is opportunity.
As a mom, I am trying desperately to adjust my verbiage so that my child feels confident in changing the path. I want her to know that this path is HERS. Do what makes your heart smile. And guess what – that won’t be the same path as everyone else and that is okay. I want all my children to follow their path with courage and conviction. I hope that what they are passionate about plays into their life decisions because in my heart I feel that a life with passion is more fulfilling and joyful. But, more than anything, I want them to know that no matter what their path looks like, it will be success for them.
Here’s to sweet dreams and a restful sleep tonight mamas. We got this…