Copyright 2006 Socrates Olympio
In an age where the playstation, internet and the ipod seem to reign, it is increasingly difficult to stimulate kids to achieve great feats especially in the traditional domains such as the visual arts, maths and sciences.
The upsurge in interest in the new age hobbies and addictions represent a departure from the good ‘old days’ when kids played long and hard and were healthy as could be; obesity was a rarity and invention and creativity were not frowned upon nor shunned by kids.
Today, the picture is all too different. The computer has taken a virtual monopoly on the interests and attention of the 21st Century kid. This should not necessarily be a bad thing if moderated effectively. We won’t go into the ills and perils of cyberspace, but will rather look at proactive ways of harnessing talent on the net.
A few things that one could suggest to today’s information overloaded child are as follows:
Traditional activities: Poetry, Drama, Sports, Athletics, Scrapbooking, History Lessons and quizzes.
Contemporary stuff: Stimulating hobbies such as Scale modeling Simulation of architectural designs etc. Learn a new language e.g. Chinese (for obvious reasons)
For technically-minded: * Building Nitro-powered racing cars
Rewards scheme: It is essential to ‘reward’ every little achievement your kid makes in some form that both you and your kid agree on. Although the kid need not know that he or she is being actively consulted about this.Rewards must by nature be minimal in quantity or in material value but high on the sentimental scale. Why? because being human, we treasure loving hugs, approving looks, pats on the back, trips made together to places of interest PLUS the accompanying material reward such money, presents etc. This is fact and is indisputable.
The key aspects to making your child do exceptional stuff its allowing them to ‘play.’ It is through their play that their true interests, skills or talents will emerge.However, without your active involvement in the process there’s only a limited chance of succes as every parent or guardian is the first role model and mentor to every child.
Just like you project manage at work, you also need to project manage your child’s development. If you physically cant be there for whatever reason, you need to delegate to a trusted person. But there mustn’t be a situation where there’s no active mentoring.
And when success comes and the awards start to troop in, you can be proud of a good job being done.