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Gradually, Not Immediately

Building talent in children requires a belief in the parents that it is the sweat, and the focus, and the attention to the skills involved in a talent that will gradually, not immediately, ignite the fire within each person.

Imagine if you approached teaching the skill of reading or the ability to do math in the same manner as the typical person manages the talent discovery process in their young student. “Here son, here’s a college textbook on calculus. Browse through it over the weekend. If it clicks with you and you can solve a few of the problems on your own, then it’s a good sign that we have found your true talent. We can sign you up for the introductory algebra class at that point. If not, that’s okay; we can skip algebra and not waste any more time on math. We’ll keep looking for a talent for you.”

If talent discovery is managed in that same manner, then the child is doomed from the outset at having no real talent in their life, just hobbies that look like talent. And if you ask your child to wander from extra-curricular activity to extra-curricular activity in the hopes of finding their calling in life, then they will be body-snatched into long-term worthless group sports that will do nothing to change their lives.

Instead, become engaged as a parent in the talent discovery process. Find first one thing, then find several things that can be weaved together from their already rich environment into something unique for their future. A personal interest is just one thing and not enough to build a meaningful talent. They need several things and they need your broad vision to put those several things together. They absolutely cannot see all their options at their own young age of twelve, but you can. They need your experienced imagination and they need your boundary setting authority to say ‘yes’ to real opportunities and to say ‘no’ to irrelevant activities.

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