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s/o innate abilities, growth mindset, hard work, opportunity, and achievement


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Everything comes back to snakes. So, while I do a more minimal form of school in some ways, which allows her to spend long amounts of time on reptiles and amphibians and biology in general, she actually spends far more time on subjects than I suspect she would if I actually taught them to the WTM logic stage recommendations. And for that reason, I'm confident that if she eventually gives up herpetology, she'll still have enough skills to move on from that point in whatever direction she wants.

I think approaching writing from the angle dd loved, music, was like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Years ago I used Logos Press Writing Trails with Great Composers to teach dd (who has dyslexia) how to outline, summarize, and re-write. It was like magic. She tolerated it pretty well for a kid who would have done anything to avoid putting pencil to paper long enough to write a full sentence.  Thank you Logos Press! 

 

Now I'm looking for more writing resources for high school level...  Essay writing from the classical music standpoint, anyone? (lol)

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I don't know if this is the ultimate answer, but we've tried to keep the kids on different instruments.  It is obvious that they have different innate musical abilities, but they are not directly competing when playing different things.  

 

This was a very common approach in sibling groups at the Suzuki schools where my kids started.  It didn't work for us forever, though.  There was a point when dd heard older brother practicing a piece in the other room, working very hard yet not sounding polished, and so she just picked it up and joined in by ear.  He could immediately tell that her version sounded better. Sigh. (We had to make a rule that she was not allowed to play any of her brother's music.) It was all downhill from there.

 

I should share that her older brother has a bit of a fear of failure combined with very high expectations for himself and a low threshold for frustration. Oh, isn't THAT the perfect storm?! Playing the cello really helped him learn that he could work at something and get better at it (because he was quite the perfectionist to whom everything had come easily until then). But he cried, at 5 years old, in his first few lessons because his (amazingly accomplished cello) teacher's Twinkle sounded better than his. I should have read the writing on the wall!  

 

In any event, ds played the cello for 9 years and it was a complete blessing for him. I'm so very glad he had that opportunity, even if he did eventually decide to put it down. I'm sure learning the cello absolutely changed his life for the better and helped him develop skills he may not have otherwise.

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Zaichiki have you already looked at Discovering Music or Great Courses music titles? The guidebooks for each should have high school level discussion and writing ideas.

What I need is something that teaches essay writing very clearly...

I'll check them out.

Thanks!

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There is always someone there at the top.

 

Why would it be so crazy to have it be your own dd with all her wonderful traits, personality, passion, drive, instructors, and opportunity? Aren't those the things that make up the best of the best?

 

Scary for it to be your own daughter, possibly, but not so crazy to believe.  

I don't know how to say this, Donna, but something about this angle just doesn't sit right with me. I don't see it this way. I don't know why.

 

I know *someone* is at the top, but it doesn't make sense that it would be my kid.

 

I don't know if those are the traits that make up "the best of the best."  I've honestly just never really thought along those lines before. I don't see her as "the best of the best." Maybe my expectations of "the best" are too high? Or maybe my expectations of everyone are too high? 

 

If the teacher came to me tomorrow and said "Ha, you're on Candid Camera," or something like that, I would totally believe it.

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I don't know how to say this, Donna, but something about this angle just doesn't sit right with me. I don't see it this way. I don't know why.

 

I know *someone* is at the top, but it doesn't make sense that it would be my kid.

 

I don't know if those are the traits that make up "the best of the best."  I've honestly just never really thought along those lines before. I don't see her as "the best of the best." Maybe my expectations of "the best" are too high? Or maybe my expectations of everyone are too high? 

 

If the teacher came to me tomorrow and said "Ha, you're on Candid Camera," or something like that, I would totally believe it.

 

It doesn't sit right with me too but I think that's primarily because he's my kid and I know a couple of younger kids shining brighter due to various other qualities.

 

But then again, the best is also subjective isn't it? He isn't the quickest when it comes to math problem solving for example, but like Ruth's son, he just doesn't give up. He has no interest in getting his thoughts published or in competing regionally/ nationally/ internationally. He just enjoys pondering and coming up with stuff. Very frequently, the math he creates is lost (he will actually wipe away a whiteboard full of cool stuff without remembering to take a photo, drives me nuts). Perhaps he is the best in some way but because he is my own kid I just can't bring myself to think or say it.

 

But he doesn't have to be the best and I don't think he wants to...that wouldn't be any fun. For us, it's always more fun to have some hurdle or challenge to overcome and being the best could lead to a sense of complacency that wouldn't be healthy.

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I don't know how to say this, Donna, but something about this angle just doesn't sit right with me. I don't see it this way. I don't know why.

 

I know *someone* is at the top, but it doesn't make sense that it would be my kid.

 

I don't know if those are the traits that make up "the best of the best."  I've honestly just never really thought along those lines before. I don't see her as "the best of the best." Maybe my expectations of "the best" are too high? Or maybe my expectations of everyone are too high? 

 

If the teacher came to me tomorrow and said "Ha, you're on Candid Camera," or something like that, I would totally believe it.

 

I been writing on this board before my I even knew there were math competitions available for kids. I knew my kid was pretty good at math, but then so was my sister as a kid, and he seemed to be following her path. Sometimes I go back and read some of my old posts, and laugh to myself.  One thread of mine tickled me; it was about how to help an all-rounder - my ds who is now a specialist. I'm so thankful for this board and those who have followed our path, who know it has not been all roses, who know that there were many times that I did not know where I was going, who knew ds before his successes.  If someone were to look in now, ds seems so stellar and out of reach, but he has never had huge leaps -- it has all been a long wonderful slog.

 

I guess you just have to come to terms with the achievement.  My ds is working at the level right for him, it might be a highly competitive level, but it is still *his* level.  He has the perfect storm of nature and nurture; opportunity and luck. 

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Reading this thread with immense interest. Lots of good thoughts!

 

 

I didn't read every response and perhaps someone has already mentioned this. I was very intrigued recently when a friend showed me a chart in a psychology textbook detailing  brain development in girls vs boys. There is a period in childhood where boys and girls are somewhat equal and then from about age 5, if I recall correctly, girls develop consistently about 2+ years ahead boys of the same age. This continues through early adolescence and boys only catch up around age 16 or so. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the textbook but this helped me to understand some of the concerns we had been having. Kiddo doesn't have a sibling for me to compare him to but he does have friends who are girls.

 

I think it's far too early to be sure about the bolded.

 

I can also relate my own experience learning music as a child. I learned the violin much more quickly as a 5yo than my brother did as an 8yo. But he beat me soundly in academics. No fair. I obviously had much finer motor control and musical ability than he did but can't hold a candle now to his abilities as a surgeon performing intricate operations and saving lives. :laugh:

 

As a parent you might be able to gently steer the conversation in such a way that your son doesn't feel left out. It would depend on the context. The very fact that you are aware is positive. He might or might not be more talented than his sister but there could be other talents that develop with time.

 

 

LOL!  My son, definitely the academic, wants to be a cardiologist!!!   :laugh:  He is a brilliant child and I have no doubt that he will be a cardiologist one day.  

 

I praise his academic abilities, as does the rest of our extended family (they send him dictionaries for his birthday, and he loves them!!).  But, unlike his sister, the talent + hard work isn't as evident to the public.  I think he wants to excel at something where he gets a little attention, too.  I also think another drive for his desire to excel at his instrument is because his sister is about to enter her first competition and he knows she will get paid "big bucks" if she wins.  :lol:

 

I think my solution will be to get my son in some more academic groups, perhaps a math circle or something, when he hits middle school.  He will still learn to play cello well and learn a good work ethic from it...from tennis lessons, too.  I will make sure, however, that he shines in his own talent.

 

Both dd7 and ds9 play duets, and my dd5 just started violin (will switch to viola at 6) and he plays with them as well.  Playing together puts them on the same level and it becomes a team effort.  Everyone is praised when the team does well.

 

I was always of the mindset that if you work hard the sky is the limit for you.  As my children grow, I think my thoughts have changed.  I now see we are all born with our own unique talents.  Our job as parents is to help our children cultivate those unique talents and support them in any way possible.  My daughter is 7 and is working on a Mozart Concerto, a Bach Sonata and Saint Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (this piece is insanely difficult).   My ds9, working equally as hard, is breaking a sweat over Hunter's Chorus and Witches Dance in Suzuki Book 2.   They both work equally hard, both with excellent teachers.  I don't know what else to attribute the differences in ability to other than a natural born talent.

 

(Don't let my ds play dd a game of chess, though.  He'll checkmate her in 5 moves!!)

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It doesn't sit right with me too but I think that's primarily because he's my kid and I know a couple of younger kids shining brighter due to various other qualities.

 

But then again, the best is also subjective isn't it? He isn't the quickest when it comes to math problem solving for example, but like Ruth's son, he just doesn't give up. He has no interest in getting his thoughts published or in competing regionally/ nationally/ internationally. He just enjoys pondering and coming up with stuff. Very frequently, the math he creates is lost (he will actually wipe away a whiteboard full of cool stuff without remembering to take a photo, drives me nuts). Perhaps he is the best in some way but because he is my own kid I just can't bring myself to think or say it.

 

But he doesn't have to be the best and I don't think he wants to...that wouldn't be any fun. For us, it's always more fun to have some hurdle or challenge to overcome and being the best could lead to a sense of complacency that wouldn't be healthy.

 

The best is so subjective.  My ds takes violin with a great teacher.  And his oldest student just won the national chamber music competition.  My son's teacher said that it was so very hard for them to choose the winner given how great the top groups were.  But in the end, his student's group won because they had just a touch more spontaneity.  Apparently the other groups were just slightly too rehearsed.  Fascinating, really.  As you get more perfect in music, you become less musical.  At least that was my take away.  

 

In addition, any field can be divided up into subfields with an individual's performance varying quite widely among them. My ds is terrible at any speed work.  The first day of math camp was a team competition with 20 problems in 20 minutes, and my ds's team came in last, mostly he said because of him. 

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, the talent + hard work isn't as evident to the public.  I think he wants to excel at something where he gets a little attention, too.  

 

I think that this is an incredibly important point.  My ds was focused on music for so long because people loved to hear him play.  He got complements all the time -- people could appreciate the work it took and could appreciate the music he made.  But math?  Not only do people have no idea what he does, they don't even want to talk about it.  If he even tries to discuss a success, they say something like "I don't understand math" and very quickly shut him down.  

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It doesn't sit right with me too but I think that's primarily because he's my kid and I know a couple of younger kids shining brighter due to various other qualities.

 

 

Well, my ds feels outshined by yours. :001_smile: As you said, there can never be a single best. People are individuals.  It is impossible to rank them.

 

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I don't know how to say this, Donna, but something about this angle just doesn't sit right with me. I don't see it this way. I don't know why.

 

I know *someone* is at the top, but it doesn't make sense that it would be my kid.

 

I don't know if those are the traits that make up "the best of the best."  I've honestly just never really thought along those lines before. I don't see her as "the best of the best." Maybe my expectations of "the best" are too high? Or maybe my expectations of everyone are too high? 

 

If the teacher came to me tomorrow and said "Ha, you're on Candid Camera," or something like that, I would totally believe it.

 

I think I have a broader idea of "someone" than I expressed…I didn't mean "someone" as in "one" person in particular but meant there must be someone (in the group of people) at the top of their craft. 

 

It might be easier to narrow down the "top" to come up with a "best of the best" in sports like swimming or track & field but areas like music or art or writing are subjective so one person's thoughts about what constitutes "the best" might be different than another person's but there are certainly "bell curves" of "talent" (whatever that word means) or skill even in subjective areas. 

 

I see all the things my own dd works on improving and I see her as the 13 yo girl she is with her good qualities and challenges. When she competed this past fall, nearly every competitor in her age group were kids we knew had placed in the huge summer competition over the past few years…those kids at the "top" of their age group in the genre (this competition had different age ranges than the summer competition so dd's age group included kids a few years older than her and a couple kids a year or so younger).  I listened to all of them play and heard the good qualities in all their playing. I couldn't possibly figure out how the adjudicators could pick a winner. I can usually pick the ones I think are the better players (the ones with better good intonation, lift, nice variations, playing more challenging tunes,etc…the important things in Irish music) but there are so many different regional styles that there is no way for me to choose just one winner or one "best of the best"…another group of adjudicators might have chosen a different winner. In the end it didn't really matter who was the winner, the kids made friends and some played in sessions together afterward, getting to know each other and exchanging tunes and email addresses.

 

With the opportunities being offered your dd, I imagine she must be at the top of her age group on her chosen instrument in that genre at least where she is right now which is arguably one of the most challenging environments for both her instrument and genre around. Are there other 13 year olds playing the same instrument at a similar level around the world? Does it even matter? She is still the 13 year old she is with her own set of good qualities and challenges. 

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I think that this is an incredibly important point. My ds was focused on music for so long because people loved to hear him play. He got complements all the time -- people could appreciate the work it took and could appreciate the music he made. But math? Not only do people have no idea what he does, they don't even want to talk about it. If he even tries to discuss a success, they say something like "I don't understand math" and very quickly shut him down.

We hit that, too. For some reason, being really involved in field biology at an early age just isn't as flashy as winning world championships in martial arts, playing high level music recitals, or even winning the city-wide spelling bee, and I think one reason why she's pushed to present and publish her work is so she has some recognition that what she's doing is really work and is an accomplishment.

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It is interesting to me that it is mostly the folks with super high achieving kids who gravitated to this discussion. Am I the only one with non-outlier kids who is interested in what goes into achievement?

 

(Not that I want to discourage those of you who are talking, you are all people I admire and I find your children's achievements inspirational and fascinating)

 

Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

My dad said he had to study while his classmates have time to play many rounds of mahjong. My dad has EF issues. Everyone including my aunts help him out for him to succeed as a teacher. Even my former teachers cut him some slack for forgetting permission slips.

 

One of my many aunts have four children with different talent and temperament. The oldest is the least academically talented but he wanted to be an engineer. So he study two to three times longer than his siblings to get accepted into engineering, then slog through to graduate. He never made Dean's list but he did reach his goal of being an engineer. The second and third child has strong work ethic but no passion. They are both successful and happy in their careers. They are the successful generalists. The youngest has no interest in academics and gets above average grades with no effort. He is not interested in college and is doing well in Sales. You could say Sales is his passion.

My aunt make sure there is always more than enough food in the house. That whatever help is needed is procured for the child who needs more help improving his/her skills. That it is okay to fail.

 

If a child needs outside recognition, then be prepared to be there for tears. Be prepared for natural feelings of envy. My extended family couldn't care less for outside recognition but we had people behave badly to us because of us leapfrogging them. It is hard when you have put in so much effort and passion to have someone "do nothing" be first in whatever "competition" and you are the second.

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It is interesting to me that it is mostly the folks with super high achieving kids who gravitated to this discussion. Am I the only one with non-outlier kids who is interested in what goes into achievement?

 

(Not that I want to discourage those of you who are talking, you are all people I admire and I find your children's achievements inspirational and fascinating)

 

Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

I also have non-outlier kids (and for what it's worth, my oldest two were "non-outliers" for years from my perspective). I see the same influencing factors, but producing results on a different scale.

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I think I have a broader idea of "someone" than I expressed…I didn't mean "someone" as in "one" person in particular but meant there must be someone (in the group of people) at the top of their craft. 

 

It might be easier to narrow down the "top" to come up with a "best of the best" in sports like swimming or track & field but areas like music or art or writing are subjective so one person's thoughts about what constitutes "the best" might be different than another person's but there are certainly "bell curves" of "talent" (whatever that word means) or skill even in subjective areas. 

 

I see all the things my own dd works on improving and I see her as the 13 yo girl she is with her good qualities and challenges. When she competed this past fall, nearly every competitor in her age group were kids we knew had placed in the huge summer competition over the past few years…those kids at the "top" of their age group in the genre (this competition had different age ranges than the summer competition so dd's age group included kids a few years older than her and a couple kids a year or so younger).  I listened to all of them play and heard the good qualities in all their playing. I couldn't possibly figure out how the adjudicators could pick a winner. I can usually pick the ones I think are the better players (the ones with better good intonation, lift, nice variations, playing more challenging tunes,etc…the important things in Irish music) but there are so many different regional styles that there is no way for me to choose just one winner or one "best of the best"…another group of adjudicators might have chosen a different winner. In the end it didn't really matter who was the winner, the kids made friends and some played in sessions together afterward, getting to know each other and exchanging tunes and email addresses.

 

With the opportunities being offered your dd, I imagine she must be at the top of her age group on her chosen instrument in that genre at least where she is right now which is arguably one of the most challenging environments for both her instrument and genre around. Are there other 13 year olds playing the same instrument at a similar level around the world? Does it even matter? She is still the 13 year old she is with her own set of good qualities and challenges. 

I am also thinking of a broader "someone."  It doesn't make sense to me that my child would be in that group.

 

Maybe it's because she wasn't such an obvious outlier before? She fit in well, even if it was with older children, and no one noticed she was different. If they did, most didn't say anything to me.  She didn't get constant praise and comments from strangers (and her teachers carefully kept mum with me for years). When someone important did say something, it was purposefully understated, almost as an aside. She doesn't get lavish praise, now, either.  

 

Don't get me wrong: I am very grateful for all of this! I think it has helped her keep her head tightly on her shoulders all these years. She doesn't see herself as being at the top of her group (although maybe she will start to do so now, what with teacher's comment...) Dd's measuring stick has always just lengthened to match the group and she sees herself as fitting in well within a larger group of peers. I think mine has, as well. We just look in the bigger pond/deeper water and don't look back.  Maybe it would be different today if we were surrounded by the smaller pond more frequently.

 

With the opportunities being offered dd, it sure *sounds like* she must be in the top group for her age/instrument/genre... There must be other kids her age, especially in China, playing at this level. I know these kids are the ones winning many of the international competitions at 16-20 years old... Still, it doesn't seem like it's possible that dd would be in that group. It's too "other." Not like our real life... (You've seen our real life, Donna.)

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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

 

My youngest is good friends with a kid who became intrigued with math his freshman year in high school. He set aside about 2-3 hours per day to study material online or math books he borrowed from the library, and as a result, he did very well and eventually took (and successfully finished) Math 55 at Harvard. He's interested in many subjects actually and just hyper focuses once he finds something he likes. Personally, I think drive and passion can go very far.

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I actually only planned to lurk on this thread...and now I'm writing more than planned, aiyayai...I blame you guys!  :p

 

Fascinating, really.  As you get more perfect in music, you become less musical.  At least that was my take away.  

 

In addition, any field can be divided up into subfields with an individual's performance varying quite widely among them. My ds is terrible at any speed work.  The first day of math camp was a team competition with 20 problems in 20 minutes, and my ds's team came in last, mostly he said because of him. 

 

This observation about music is very close to my heart too Ruth. As usual I feel divided. I see very young kids playing with such technical precision. I have a nephew who does this too. But I very rarely see a young kid play that way with very obvious enjoyment in their facial expression or body language. I don't want to minimize their accomplishment though. Perhaps it takes a level of focus that's just so superhuman that the kid cannot also smile or feel the music in his/ her body and dance/ sway along. Somehow I don't picture that being an issue for Donna's DD. :001_smile:

 

Well for mine, music isn't one of those innate talents. But he enjoys it. He has to work harder than his cousin at it. His cousin is about 1.5 years younger and maybe 5 times more accomplished. I think that's the difference with innate talent. The scale at which it appears just outshines those without it. But when I see my DS play, his shoulders are moving along with the music, his foot is tapping, he is obviously enjoying the moment. Perhaps it is also genre. DS gravitates towards jazz because there is so much room for improvisation. He loves being able to risk a different note. My nephew's bent is classical. I wonder if this focus at the expense of obvious enjoyment (or perhaps the enjoyment is just hidden from view?) is only when they are young? Is it because they have to be so tuned in to the notes that they can't afford to expend energy on smiling? I'm not talking about the physical gestures pianists make when playing a piece. I'm talking about the vibration and body movements that come from loving a piece. I don't see that in the young, technically superior pianists I know. Granted, I shouldn't generalize.

 

On the other hand, I wonder, at least with adult musicians/ dancers/ artists...if the passion was true, wouldn't you break away from perfection? I think perfection is limiting. It is the flaws that make something beautiful. No? Maybe not so, I don't know. I just like thinking about these things a lot. :001_smile: I have felt that passion for the arts before. I still do sometimes despite not having had the opportunity to follow my heart. I know I would hate for someone to "train" it out of me. I would still pursue training if I could afford it but I know when something doesn't feel right. Perhaps people are just afraid to take the risk to challenge a perceived expert teacher?

 

ETA: wanted to respond to the part about your DS's comment too but am being sidetracked now by other demands...love reading all that you guys write, just wish I could split myself into 2 people!

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I don't know if those are the traits that make up "the best of the best." I've honestly just never really thought along those lines before. I don't see her as "the best of the best." Maybe my expectations of "the best" are too high? Or maybe my expectations of everyone are too high?

I was in a bit of a hurry this morning heading off to work but have been thinking about a couple things while driving this morning.

 

I think your high expectations and difficulty in viewing your dd this way have helping her have such a good attitude and as normal a life as possible. I think it is wonderful because it allows you to take a step back when certain opportunities are offered and consider what your dd wants and the pros and cons of taking those opportunities. I can imagine how (I honestly don't know the right word to encompass everything I am thinking...scary, exciting, heady, whatever) it must be to have a similar offer made and go along with it because a teacher suggests it without taking a moment to think.

 

My other thought was...is there a specific set of traits required to be at the very top?

 

Granted we have a small sample size here but it seems all of our kids have some similar characteristics/traits but also some very different traits have been brought up and the extent to which we as parents attribute their skills/talent to certain traits is very different. One child might be more self motivated or motivated by some internal idea of ideal, another is more motivated by high achieving peers, and another might be motivated more by parental pressure. One might need to work for hours to get something where another seems to learn via osmosis. Perfectionism and/or failure might motivate or paralyze. One might need rest or downtime where another works best if under more pressure or when busier. I could probably go on and on. It seems much easier in hindsight to look back and think about what traits a child had and use them to explain achievement.

 

The brain and how it works is fascinating to me. I work with kids who, at least while I am seeing them, are often at the opposite end of the bell curve when looking at early development. I often wish I maintained contact with more families to observe how certain traits seen in the kids as babies and toddlers affect their later development

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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

Sorry, not me.

My kids are neither super-passionate not super talented at anything.

Both of them are moderately talented at some things (i.e. above average, but that's about it).

Both of them are mildly interested in a few things, but not enough to put in serious effort.

 

My 9 year old would balk and say that she is super passionate about

ballet, but her actions show that she is about as interested in ballet as the other kids in class.

 

My approach to this conversation is more from the other end of the spectrum.

What do you do with a kid who isn't talented, uninterested, and doesn't want to work hard?

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I've always felt this way about the Olympics. Yes, Olympians are clearly the world's greatest athletes who do the hard work of training, no question. I'm not denying that they earn their spots! But, at the same time, it's not like just anyone could become an Olympian. You have to be (at least in America) extremely privileged in that your parents can afford and accommodate years and years and years of expensive private lessons and coaching in your sport. Your parents need to be able to afford and accommodate taking you to competitions all around the country and even the world--for years. Many Olympians' families even relocate their entire lives to different states just to train/support their child's dream. So, while I love watching the Olympics, I kinda think the whole thing is a big mirage, too. You have to be both innately talented and wealthy/privileged, especially in more obscure, expensive sports like horse racing and skiing, etc. 

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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

 

Not questioning this question, but adding to it...just wondering aloud.

 

I know from personal experience that drive and passion are subjective too. My child is not aggressively driven. He doesn't, like some of his friends, try to be the best in everything and announce to the world that he will be so. He doesn't try to compete (and definitely doesn't try to out-compete). He is just happy being who and what he is. But does that make him less driven? Some people I know think so and I naturally disagree being his mom, lol. But what do you guys think? Does drive have to be aggressive? When we say someone is driven do we automatically also assume they are competitive?

 

To answer maize's question, my son is innately talented in math, but not in music. He does however, love music, especially music that's a little more eccentric or out of beat. Syncopated...that's the word I was looking for. He has had to really work on music because it doesn't come to him as naturally as math does (and he already works so hard in math!).

 

I supported him by first finding him a teacher who would get him. This took a lot of luck. Actually, it took a move to a more rural area that was so limited in homeschooling resources and classes but so rich in jazz music. We didn't know this at that time. It was one of those who-would-have-thought moments. Even when we moved, I didn't know how to go about finding him a teacher. I spoke to a few but somehow it just didn't feel right. One day, I was looking through another music school's website and saw the photo of a teacher there laughing. The laugh, the smile, the eyes crinkling in amusement...it was so genuine. I printed the photo and went to the school and asked to speak specifically to that teacher. His schedule was full but he still took some time to speak to my son. I told him we'll wait till he had an opening. About a week later he called back to say he did have an opening and that started a very beautiful teacher-student relationship. My son had grown up with another 2 teachers thinking he was very bad at music. Those teachers were sticklers for technique, classical technique. This teacher opened up the possibility that my son's interest (not necessarily talent) could be more jazz than classical. I did suspect this but didn't have enough confidence to be convinced of it.

 

This didn't require more money than what we would have paid for music lessons anyway where we live (CoL is higher). In fact, this music school doesn't inflate its prices so we were actually paying a little less.

 

One way of how I supported my son, by following my intuition and finding someone who would get him. I did the same thing for math a few months after we found this music teacher. So I wouldn't say I did anything very different for a subject he isn't very talented in vs one he is obviously talented in.

Edited by quark
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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

My oldest ds wrestled his whole life. He worked hard, sacrificed a lot of free time, and was passionate about wrestling. It was all he wanted to do. He was a big fish in the small pond of our region.

 

Ds achieved a lot but he never placed at a national competition or even the state level. There are a number of things I attribute that to. During high school, he dealt with a number of unfortunate injuries from a broken ankle to ligament tears to even an elbow in the face during gym the day before his final regional competition which left half his face swollen beyond recognition due to a break in his sinuses and air filling parts of his face it shouldn't have so he was required to wear an eye-sight limiting face mask throughout the competition. He also did not have some of the athletic traits required to be a "top in the nation"/D1 college scholarship winning kid...such as great flexibility, above average speed, or an innate sense of body position some great wrestlers seem to exhibit. Hard work helped some but there were others with more innate "talent." I've also seen some of those with seemingly all the innate talent in the world, including a couple top high school recruits, end up dropping out or doing nothing in college for a number of reasons and others who simply worked harder or smarter rise to the top.

 

We provided ds with as much support as he needed to achieve his personal best...sometimes he did win against better natural wrestlers. He could probably have wrestled at a D3 school fairly successfully but he wanted to try a D1 so he did then ended up coming home to go to community college and stopped wrestling...two broken kneecaps from a skateboarding injury contributed. He has considered wrestling again but the desire to work two jobs may prevent that.

 

Either way, he learned a lot from his time wrestling and those things will be beneficial his whole life.

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But does that make him less driven? Some people I know think so and I naturally disagree being his mom, lol. But what do you guys think? Does drive have to be aggressive? When we say someone is driven do we automatically also assume they are competitive?

I don't think drive necessarily equals competitive. Maybe in some areas like sports you have to be driven to compete but in something like music, I do not think one has to be driven by competition.

 

My dd does compete but like I mentioned before, the competitions are an excuse to travel and the actual competition takes up a few hours in an entire week or longer trip. She would not change her style to a more "competition" friendly style to place and though she practices so she can perform her best, she does the same for her lessons or any non-competitive performance as well.

 

My ds is equally as driven on his instrument but hates to compete. He did it twice when he was younger and that was enough for him. He still practices daily on his three instruments, listens to other musicians/genres to try to improve his playing, and enjoys composing, arranging, and performing with different people. He is my most laid back kid and is of the opinion that anyone can like him or not just the way he is.

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Does anyone else out there have a kid with drive and passion but a bit short on the innate talent side of things? If so what do you do to support them?

 

My younger has talent without drive, so I'm working on drive and ownership.  We talk talk talk.  I get him to set small goals and track them.  But developing drive is a very long hard slog.  I have 6 more years, though, and I can do !  Slow and steady and all that.

 

But kids with drive and passion and less talent?  I have a couple of kids I tutor/mentor who fall into this category.  They need me to lay out an *efficient* path to their goals, because it will take them longer to get there than others.  They rely on me and trust me to do this well.  They also need emotional support from me because they see kids around them doing so much more with so much less effort.  So I do a lot of listening and counselling. But one of the best things I do is model hard work.  I pick a subject that I stink at (physics) and study.  I show them my notebooks, the red pen. I talk to them about my own struggles and how I overcome them.  They always ask about my physics.  'How's it going?' And I tell them.  Kids need to see struggle, current struggle, not stories from the past.  They need to know that I failed the physics test, and my take away was not 'I'm bad at physics.' but 'I need to change my study technique; I need to do something different to get this.'  Modelling is a huge part of what I do.

Edited by lewelma
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Our focus has been to try to get our kids to try as many different activities as they are willing which has been…not always easy. LOL. :D

 

It has been fun to watch how what they've tried/experienced/enjoyed has mixed with what they played with when younger. It's like a stew. Legos and the children's museum ultimately morphed into the two oldest's professions. The youngest is majoring in math/econ but I think he is going to be involved in education somehow. As a little guy he'd line up his stuffed animals after he went to bed and teach them. Currently, he really enjoys helping his friends with math even if they're struggling. So, who knows?

 

I see similar things in his friends who range from hyper focused and outstanding in certain areas to what appear to be lost ducks but really are not (this would be most of his friends). They are now beginning to figure out what they want to do and are going for it. It was interesting to talk with them over break.

 

If you want to read about vocations and the drive to do something, you might want to check out David Brooks's The Road to Character. I'm reading it now. Offers a slightly different perspective.

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What do you do with a kid who isn't talented, uninterested, and doesn't want to work hard?

 

 

Teach them about money? Money inspires most people because it is so handy and all.

Tried that.

 

We (parents) pay for all of the kids' things that we consider essential,

and things that we want them to have (like dance and music lessons).

So the kids don't need money for anything, unless they want something "extra."

We have some standard chores that the kids can do for money, but they

almost never take us up on them.

 

One kid isn't interested in the effort.

She would rather do without the extras than do odd jobs.

 

The other kid will work for money if she really wants something specific.

But that is rare. Usually, she would also choose to forgo the extra.

 

I don't see money motivating my kids until

(1) They have the skills (and are old enough) to make real money from a 3rd party, or

(2) They have their own living expense.

 

Like I said, no deep interests and not wanting to work hard.

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Tried that.

 

We (parents) pay for all of the kids' things that we consider essential,

and things that we want them to have (like dance and music lessons).

So the kids don't need money for anything, unless they want something "extra."

 

My dd's motivation for making money is so she can afford 10 kids. :p

 

She's saving her egg money so she can buy bees because two businesses are better than one. 

 

So, it's not just about earning money, it's about investing it too. How to get money you haven't worked for (in legal ways!)  might be more interesting to your kids.

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My approach to this conversation is more from the other end of the spectrum.

What do you do with a kid who isn't talented, uninterested, and doesn't want to work hard?

 

If you (general you) are like my parents, you might want to wait patiently until this child gets out into the real world.

 

The average (statistically) skills, the average (again statistically) drive with high tolerance for routine is much prized in regular jobs in the real world. My parents patience paid off as this child turned out to be the most successful adult, in the mainstream sense of the word, in my family and extended family. No..I'm not their most successful child ;) :D

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FWIW , I wish the present-me had advised the 20-year-me that passion and talent are overrated in the larger scheme of life. Tolerance for routine or the patience to do something well every.single.day will also determine the kind of breaks I will get and how far I will go in my chosen career.

 

ETA: 'Diligence' is the word I was looking for..

Edited by ebunny
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I don't think it matters if a kid doesn't have a great passion or an outstanding talent. Lots of people don't really know what they want to do in life until they are 20, 30 or older. Not everyone can be some kind of prodigy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a decent ordinary person, an average student, or somebody who likes to try lots of things without specializing. 

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Maize,

 

While my kids were at class just now, I was thinking about multipotentiality and college planning.

 

I remembered choosing the safest major when I applied to universities as we apply direct to the various schools. I was deciding between engineering, law and accounting. I could do postgrad in law or accounting after a BEng but I can't do a postgrad in engineering after LLB or BAcc. Since my govt subsidise the first bachelors degree heavily, makes more sense at that time to pick engineering as less doors are closed.

 

My hubby had wanted to be a doctor but only 100 in the whole country was accepted to School of Medicine each year. His academic scores were not tippy top enough to get an interview. His second choice was electrical engineering and that is actually where his academic strength lies. He said he had to book learn chem so luckily he didn't choose pharmacy or chemical engineering.

 

Both my boys are generalists. Makes college planning interesting. What if kids want to triple major like me, what would be the cost.

 

Now I am thinking of going back to work in a few years time to reduce boredom. I'm having trouble career planning :lol:

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